Two-tier Test plan axed after India opposition


New Delhi (AFP)

Controversial plans to create a two-tier Test system have been scrapped by cricket's world governing body after strong opposition from the Indian board, senior officials said Thursday.

The proposal to set up a de factor premier league featuring the top seven ranked sides was one of the main topics of discussion at a meeting of the International Cricket Council at a meeting in Dubai which ended Wednesday.

While the ICC said "significant progress" had been made in trying to reach agreement on "the future shape of all international cricket", both the president of the Indian and Bangladeshi boards confirmed on Thursday that the proposal for two divisions had been scrapped.

"The officials at the meeting shot down the two-tier proposal," Anurag Thakur, president of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), told AFP.

"The BCCI could have benefited financially from the two-tier system but morally we wanted to stand with the countries which would have been badly affected."

Nazmul Hassan, who is president of the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB), confirmed that the plan had been taken off the table.

"It's good news for us, I would say," said Hassan, whose board had been fiercely critical of the plan which would have effectively deprived Bangladesh of the opportunity to play cricket's major Test teams.

"You all know Bangladesh opposed the plan from the very beginning. India and Sri Lanka were also with us, so we were more or less confident that it would not be approved. We are delighted to know that ICC has now informed us of this officially."

Under the scheme which had been under consideration, the top seven teams would join a de facto premier league in a move designed to boost interest in Test cricket.

The other three lowest ranked sides -- currently the West Indies, Bangladesh and Zimbabwe -- would have joined a second division also including the likes of Afghanistan and Ireland.

Although England, Australia and New Zealand were in favour of the proposal, Thakur made his organisation's opposition to the plan public last month.

India, which is the game's financial powerhouse, has a history of ensuring that its stance prevails on key debates within the global body.