New Delhi:With Twenty20 cricket posing a serious threat to the already dwindling crowd base of Tests, a world championship of the five-day version is urgently required to save the oldest format of the game, feels Marylebone Cricket Club.
The custodian of the game's law feels introduction of a Test championship will resuscitate Test cricket and also stop players from thinking about lucrative Twenty20 leagues as career's prime target.
"The MCC World Cricket Committee believes that now is the high time to implement a World Test Championship. Except for certain icon series, such as Ashes, Test cricket -- specially in lower-ranked nations, is in very real danger of dying," MCC World Cricket Committee chief Tony Lewis said in an interview.
"A World Test Championship would reinvigorate players, spectators and broadcasters for what is the pinnacle of the game. Every series would have a meaning and every Test match would have a context.
"Players would have the motivation to compete on biggest stage and would have an annual or biannual chance of winning the title," he said.
The MCC will meet representatives of International Cricket Council in it's headquarters in Dubai by the end of this year, where they are scheduled to discuss the possibility of hosting a Test championship.
"There is a growing ambivalence towards the longer format of the game from cricketers in certain nations, with different player surveys revealing that earning an IPL contract is the main career aspiration for many," Lewis said.
"MCC's researches also proved that attendances at Tests have declined in recent years. There are world championships in Twenty20 and fifty-over crickets. Now we need it in Test also and work on this should start immediately on devising the appropriate format," he added.
The committee is also impressed with the idea of day-night Test matches and feels pink ball will be a suitable option for the floodlit encounters.
"The committee believes that trials of day-night Test matches should take place within next 12 months. Trials should be conducted in first-class circuit beforehand to assess the suitability of playing conditions and the type of ball used," Lewis said.
"After hearing endorsements from Shaun Pollock and Steve Waugh, who had both been involved with trials of various coloured balls, the committee were unanimous in their support of the pink ball, which would enable Test cricket to continue to be played in white clothing," Lewis said.
Even though they are the biggest advocates of Test cricket, IPL's skyrocketing popularity has forced the MCC to dump their conservative approach and welcome the shortest format of the game with open arms.
"T20 is a serious threat to the support of Test cricket.
But Lalit Modi has developed a superlative product, entirely market-led and widely supported, as was proved in South Africa," Lewis said.
"I attended IPL from the start in Bangalore and have since watched matches in Mumbai and Mohali as well. We are serious supporters of IPL because it is attached to the BCCI and is conducted under the MCC banner -- Spirit of Cricket," he added.