I don't have a problem with innovation or trying something new but I’m not convinced the proposed points-based system, mooted for the Sri Lanka tour this summer, is destined to be a rip-roaring success.
The premise would be for the men’s game to follow the lead of the women’s and the winner of the series to be decided across all formats of the game, with points allocated accordingly for Test and limited-overs victories.
Sri Lanka Cricket has confirmed that the England and Wales Cricket Board [ECB] has asked about the possibility of introducing such a system, which is set to be discussed at the governing body’s next board meeting.
I can see that it’s a way of mixing things up a little bit and it may avoid the threat of certain matches being dead rubbers, forcing teams to go for a positive result in circumstances which they may not have done otherwise, so there are positives.
In some places around the world Test cricket is fading and it is fair to say that England versus Sri Lanka will not capture everyone’s imagination – it’s not the Ashes after all and attendances are likely to be lower.
Bringing in something new might add a bit more spice to proceedings and get a few more people watching but I just cannot see it making too much difference, I really can’t.
Test cricket has its own rankings, as do the two white-ball versions of the game. England want to become the No1-ranked Test team in the world, but could the players celebrate a red-ball win over Sri Lanka if the overall series is still to be determined?
Some players don’t feature in all formats of the game, so for the guys who solely play Tests, skipper Alastair Cook for example, where does that leave them after a Test series victory? Little things like that don’t add up.
Despite the popularity and excitement of T20 cricket, I still wholeheartedly believe that Test matches are the pinnacle and the ultimate for any cricketer. It’s crucial to avoid running the risk of devaluing Test cricket.
I honestly believe there is a simpler way to boost attendances in series where it has traditionally proven harder to fill grounds and that is to lower ticket prices. Sometimes tickets are priced way too high for what they are.
There are discounts for kids and on the last day of Tests there are incentives to go along and pay a reduced amount on the door, which is great, but maybe the powers that be should do more.
As I say, I don’t have any problem with the ECB giving the points-based system a go. If a trial run proves successful and gets more people interested and crowds through the door, then fair enough.
But if it doesn’t make too much difference to the status quo, then I’m not sure there is too much point in pursuing it any further.