Shastri urges lesser teams, relegation system in Test cricket overhaul

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London, Jul 8 (PTI) Former Indian head coach Ravi Shastri has called for reducing the number of Test-playing teams to six or seven with a promotion-relegation system to maintain the interest and quality of the traditional format that has suffered due to the rise of T20 leagues and financial incentives.

Speaking at the World Cricket Connects, an event hosted by the Marylebone Cricket Club at the Lord's, Shastri emphasised the need for a significant overhaul in the structure of Test cricket to sustain its relevance and appeal.

"When you don't have quality, that is when the ratings drop, there are fewer people in the crowd, it's meaningless cricket, which is the last thing the sport wants," Shastri said.

"You have 12 Test match teams. Bring it down to six or seven and have a promotion and relegation system.

"You can have two tiers, but let the top six keep playing to sustain the interest in Test cricket. You can spread the game in other formats, like T20." The influx of a significant number of domestic franchise T20 leagues has also compelled players to choose them over Tests, mainly due to their huge financial payout.

Echoing Shastri's sentiments, MCC president Mark Nicholas said while Test cricket is a league of its own, the sport needed the bucks to sustain itself in the longer run.

"T20 cricket is the behemoth that everybody wants. It is where the new market is, where the fans are and where the money is," he said.

"In cricket, money is seen as a dirty word, but it shouldn't be because it is the only way to sustain the game," Nicholas remarked. PTI AYG TAP