Dubai:With South Africa bridging the gap with Australia and India breathing down the neck of both the sides, Test cricket is in the pink of its health, believes ICC President David Morgan.
"The result of the series in Australia has set things up beautifully for the return encounter in South Africa starting in late February, with the winners topping the Reliance Mobile Test Championship table," Morgan said.
"And with India hard on the heels of those two sides we have entered an era of exciting competition at the elite level, something that has to be a great thing for our great sport," gushed the ICC chief.
After years of its hegemony, Australia lost its aura in India where they were beaten 2-0.
There world number one crown was under threat when South Africa clinched their maiden Test series Down Under. Ricky Ponting's men, however, managed to win the Sydney Test which may not have been enough to avoid a 2-1 defeat but at least helped the side retain the number one slot.
The entire series was an intense affair with large turnouts, a fact that made Morgan optimistic about the viability of Test cricket.
"The whole Australia-South Africa series and a host of other matches around the world over the past few weeks and months are ample illustrations of the continuing value and relevance of Test cricket in the modern era.
"For sustained drama, no format of any other sport can match it. It truly is a test of skill, courage and stamina, and once again we saw all of that in abundance in Sydney, an outstanding Test match in an outstanding series," Morgan said in a statement.
He was also happy to see the turnout in Sydney for the final Test.
"The public in Sydney also demonstrated a significant appetite for the oldest format with more than 110,000 turning up to witness the action, even though the home side had already lost the series.
"As the global governing body for the sport, the ICC's role is to work with our members to harness and sustain that type of enthusiasm where it already exists and to develop it where it may not," Morgan said.
Morgan also felt that introducing a Test Championship, an idea that didn't find favour with India and England in the past, maybe the right idea.
"One way of doing just that is to explore how we can make the format even more attractive and relevant and the introduction of an enhanced Test championship is one option in that regard. The ICC Board is continuing to look at potential models for such a championship and that work will continue in 2009," he said.