Sachin Tendulkar has said ICC should probably work on the World Test Championship format so that the final is not a one-off match but a series. Speaking exclusively to CNN News18, the only man with a hundred international centuries, said the WTC should be a three-match series. ‘When you play in the 50-over World cup or the T20 championships, you play each side only once, depending on which pool you are in. Then there is continuity and you play only one final. In that case, it’s fair to have one final match. Here, in the world test championship, you (India) play four matches against Australia and four against England in India and suddenly you make it to the final and it is only one match. It should have been a WTC series – the final series. Ideally should be the best of the 3 matches. It can be decided how you play those matches – one home, one away or so."
“But this also means all playing teams will have to keep themselves free during this period for such a format. ICC must also have had its own challenges. Over a period of time, they will put their heads together and come to a solution."
But on the eve of the very first World Test Championship final, a Test ICC trophy missing so far, the master blaster also felt Test matches will do better if they remain a contest with an edge to the bowlers over batsmen, given how lop-sided the shorter formats have become.
Talking about various measures to preserve Test cricket, with the Test Championship and day-and-night Tests, Sachin said, ‘This is a good move by the ICC. But everyone is getting used to T20 and ODIs where the batsman dominates. In ODIs with the new rules, even if you score 300, it isn’t safe. The ball continues to stay hard and you see runs being scored right till the end. So, it teaches spectators to get used to that level of action, in T20s on virtually every ball, and in ODIs, every second over you expect a boundary or a six."
“The heart of test cricket is the pitch you play on. If the pitch is not good, if it isn’t result-oriented, it won’t work because fans expect action. And this is the format that could be bowler-dominated where there is action from the bowlers’ end where he is beating the bat or putting pressure on the batsmen. The batting technique should be tested. If the ICC focuses on this there will be more engagement.
“On a flat surface, if the bowler feels there is not much I can do, I’m going to bowl defensive lines. Batsman feels a bowler can’t get me out so I’m not going to take any undue risk. Spectators don’t want to see that. They want to see action and bowlers putting pressure on batsmen is a different kind of action that is possibly missing at times. So, it should be slightly tilted towards bowlers in this format.’"