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July 21, 2009

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Chappell slams ICC for killing test matches

TEST cricket faces an uncertain future and the sport's ruling body has done a good job of devaluing the traditional form of the game, former Australia skipper Ian Chappell has said.

Concerns have been raised over the classical five-day game as it struggles to counter the rapid rise in popularity of the Twenty20 format, especially with the launch of the lucrative Indian Premier League (IPL) last year.

Chappell, now a television commentator, blamed the packed international calendar for the situation, dubbing it a "jigsaw puzzle with many missing pieces".

"Ever since T20 burst onto the international scene, there have been rumblings about the death of test cricket," he wrote in a column in the Hindustan Times yesterday.

"The main barriers to improving the image of test cricket have been erected by the ICC (International Cricket Council) itself," he said. "It has done the most to devalue test cricket."

He attacked the scheduling of back-to-back tests, due to a busy calendar. "Those competing in all forms not only face an increased risk of injury but also have to prioritize their exertion levels.

"The latter could be a clue to the lack of genuine fast bowlers in the game."

Last year, the ICC raised concerns over poor crowd figures during Australia's test tour of India, while president David Morgan has said the body was considering four-day tests as part of innovations to keep the form of the game exciting to fans.

"Diminishing crowds at tests in all countries barring England and Australia is a worry," Chappell said.

"Adding to those concerns, West Indies are in disarray and Pakistan is a no-go area."


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