The Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC), the custodian of the laws of cricket, has pushed for extra funding to protect Test cricket and the women’s game, and suggested that a significant reduction be made in the number of ODI fixtures after the 2027 World Cup.
In a recent meeting at the Lord’s, the MCC’s 13-member World Cricket Committee (WCC) proposed “removing bilateral ODIs, other than in the one year preceding each World Cup”.
The panel made the suggestion keeping in mind the crowded calendar, which features T20 domestic franchise leagues around the world.
“The committee questioned the role men’s One Day International (ODI) cricket now plays outside of ICC World Cups, and recommended it be significantly reduced following the completion of the 2027 ICC Men’s World Cup,” the MCC said in a statement posted on its website.
“The suggestion is that a scarcity of ODI cricket would increase the quality, achieved by removing bilateral ODIs, other than in the oneyear preceding each World Cup. This would, as a consequence, also create much-needed space in the global cricketing calendar.” The MCC committee proposed extra funding to keep the five-day format significant and alive.
“The committee continues to hear of the growing unaffordability to host men’s Test match cricket in many nations and concluded that the game currently lacks quantifiable data on the costs of hosting a Test match across its member nations,” the release read.
“To address this lack of insight, it proposed a recommendation for the ICC to undertake a Test match financial audit to provide a clearer picture. This audit of operational costs versus commercial return would help the ICC identify nations in need of support in order to sustain a Test match programme.
“This need could be subsequently addressed via a separate Test fund, established to protect the sanctity of Test match cricket.” It also asked the ICC member boards to provide funding to strengthen the women’s game globally.
“The committee discussed how to protect, grow and strengthen women’s cricket globally.
“It believes that the optimum solution to support this objective would be to create a substantial and ring-fenced ICC Strategic Fund that can be allocated on a required basis to full member and associate nations who, amongst other key initiatives, fully commit to their women’s pathway and national team.
“The WCC also believes that in order to qualify as a full ICC member, each nation must be required to commit to investing in both men‘s and women’s cricket and field a national women’s team,” the MCC said.
The committee, which is headed by former England captain Mike Gatting and has Sourav Ganguly and Jhulan Goswami from India, has asked the ICC to create a balanced and equitable Future Tours Programme for men’s cricket after 2027.
“Ahead of the next iteration of the ICC men’s Future Tours Programme (FTP) in 2028, it calls on the ICC to ensure the men’s FTP beyond 2027 has an equitable schedule of matches for all full member countries, rewarding hosts and touring nations alike.
“The goal must be to secure a balanced, meaningful, and commercially viable FTP for all, which prioritises bilateral cricket, finds suitable space for franchise cricket yet, in particular, supports the full potential of the ICC World Test Championship to be recognised.” Following the conclusion of the meeting held on the sidelines of the recent Ashes Test at Lord’s, outgoing chair Gatting said it was time for the game to hit the reset button.
“In many ways, cricket is growing and, on the surface, seems financially strong. However, we are increasingly seeing a game which focuses on a powerful few, as opposed to a democratic and inclusive approach for the benefit of the whole sport,” he said.
“It’s time for the global game to reset. Too often, member nations are finding themselves living hand to mouth with their cricketing operations, versus having a long-term, viable strategy in place that future-proofs the game in their country, both financially and in terms of participation.
“We are currently at the commencement of a new ICC Future Tours Programme and financing cycle, and we would recommend further evidence of the requisite funding being directly apportioned to the strategic needs of cricket.”