ICC chief executive Haroon Lorgat has confirmed the inaugural Test Championship, due to be staged in England in 2013, will not take place until 2017 at the earliest.
The rise of Twenty20 has coincided with a significant drop in Test match attendances around the world and Lorgat had previously championed the competition as a way of ensuring the sanctity of the longest format of the game.
The new tournament would have seen the top four ranked teams compete in a knockout format with Lord’s already earmarked to stage the final. But with an already packed calendar and broadcasters showing little enthusiasm for the concept, Lorgat reluctantly announced yesterday’s postponement.
“I am afraid that [the Test championship] is no longer going to happen in 2013,” Lorgat said. “At the last board meeting we decided the first opportunity to play is 2017.
“I am disappointed it is not going to take place sooner but it is a reality of the commitments we have already got through to 2015.”
Yesterday’s news comes as a blow to the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC), who had advocated the inclusion of the tournament.
“It is disappointing,” MCC head of cricket John Stephenson said. “MCC has been consistent in its support for Test cricket and the need for governing bodies to give the five day game a bit of a boost.”