An Open Letter to the ICC: 14 Points & Cricket’s League of Nations Proposal for Survival of the Sport

Broken Cricket Dreams Cricket Blog
14 min readJan 29, 2024

In 1918, US President Woodrow Wilson gave a speech in the US Congress that would be regarded as the “Fourteen Points.” It proposed potential resolutions to end the ‘Great War’ (World War I), outlined how the world could move towards peace and prevent future wars, and was a key factor during the Treaty of Versailles.

Now I know what you may be thinking. What kind of comparison is this? Cricket is not war!

It definitely isn’t, but we can all agree that cricket has its share of problems.

Two years ago, I wrote an article about 15 Problems that will plague cricket in the next decade. It’s time to provide actionable solutions and remedy some of those problems.

Background — The Economics of Cricket

As much as we don’t like to talk about it, money is the center of most issues facing cricket.

Over the past year, I have worked on investigating approximately how much money it takes to host a Test match, why teams like New Zealand lose money, and learn about the economics of modern-day cricket. This includes:

Yesterday, the West Indies and England reminded us how special Test cricket truly is. The ebbs and flows, last day drama, the inspiration of an injured Shamar Joseph and Jack Leach fighting for their countries, the comeback of Tom Hartley, the camaraderie between the teams, and much, much more.

It reminded me why I started watching cricket in the first place, and I would love more of days like yesterday.

Hence, without further ado, here are my Fourteen Points to help preserve Test cricket, reduce the conflicts in the current cricketing calendar, and help fuel the growth of cricket in smaller nations.

I. Creation of the ICC Test Match Fund

A Test match fund shall be formed from ICC’s annual budget to support the endeavors of Test cricket around the world. This budget shall, at a minimum, include match fees (players, support staff, ground staff, umpires, administrators), minimum set of cameras to support the DRS (decision review system), miscellaneous finances (hotel, food, and travel), advertising & marketing costs, and all such costs which shall be deemed necessary and proper for carrying into execution a proper Test match. The distribution of the budget shall be approximately proportional to the number of Tests a cricketing nation hosts per year.

How will it work?

In 2015, the Test Match fund was pondered, where the ICC would offer $12.5 million to the non-Big 3 Test playing countries to support Test matches over a few years.

This idea, however, never materialized. In our research, we found that it takes anywhere from $350,000-$1.4 million to host just a single one Test match, which is often a burden on the smaller nations. If a team hosts 2 three-match Test series in a year, that could incur a cost ranging from $2 million-$8.5 million per year.

Potential Problems

Even at the lower estimates, $2 million for 12 Test playing nations would cost the ICC about $24 million per year. That is a lot of money.

This will be a huge effort on the part of the ICC, which may require additional sponsorships, broadcast rights expansions, etc.

To start off this process, the ICC Test match fund could be piloted among the cricketing nations who are losing money to host a Test(ex: New Zealand, South Africa, Sri Lanka, West Indies, Pakistan, etc.).

Who Said What?

“Unless the boards change the economic model, I don’t think Test cricket will thrive outside of the Big 3.”

- Johnny Grave, Cricket West Indies’ CEO

II. Establishment of the Minimum Test Match Fees

An adequate minimum Test match fees shall be established to players across all nations for both women’s & men’s Test cricket, the monetary value of which should be updated every two years based on inflation and market economics. Boards are free to provide additional bonuses to their players.

How Will it Work?

Currently, India pays its men’s Test players $18,800 per Test, Australia pays about $12,500-$17,725 USD per Test, and England pays its players around $17,600. On the other hand, a New Zealand men’s Test match fee is about

The ICC will need to setup a committee and decide what a decent minimum Test match fee is and then work with each of the cricket boards to split duties on minimum fees.

For example, if we decide that $ 17,600 (like England) is a good enough Test match fee and NZ cricket board are already paying their players $6,600, then the ICC would jump in and make up the deficit of $11,000 per Test per player. Hence, the Big 3 may not need support from the ICC (and will be allowed to pay their players bonuses on top of the minimum fee), but the ICC would need to help the other countries out.

Potential Problems

Once again, we are asking ICC to bear a potentially high cost, but does the ICC even have this much money?

If not, how can they bring in more money? If this causes the ICC to host more World Cups and tournaments, then this will crowd the already crowded cricket calendar. We do not want to create more issues to solve one problem.

Who Said What

South Africa sending a second-string squad to New Zealand in favor of a strong domestic SA20 franchise tournament is now a well-documented phenomenon and caused reactions from several players like Steve Waugh.

“We’ve got to figure out a way for them [other countries] to be incentivized to play international and particularly Test cricket. That requires transparency from all cricket boards around the world to try to figure out how to pay the players the best way they can.”

- Usman Khawaja

“…Similarly to save Test wicket they should introduce standard match fee for all the boards, so that all players of Test cricket nations can have the same match fee.”

Mohammad Hafeez

III. Introduction of Test Match Windows

Two Test match windows, one each for the Northern & Southern hemispheres respectively, shall be implemented for three months of the year.

How Will it Work?

A few people have suggested having 3-month window where only Test cricket is played. However, I think this is an incomplete solution since the Northern and Southern hemispheres have different seasons for cricket.

What could happen is from May-July, there should be a window to play Tests in England, West Indies, and the subcontinent nations while December-February should have a window for Test cricket in New Zealand, South Africa, and Australia. In these windows, we may simultaneously see the Ashes, Ind-SA Tests, and NZ-Pak Tests for example. So the focus of the fan base is solely on Test cricket.

Now we cannot stop franchise cricket for six months, so what can be done?

We can customize the window per nation. For example, when a country is hosting or touring for Test cricket within those two larger windows, they are not allowed to host a franchise league. This will help avoid clashes that we are seeing with South Africa and the SA20. On the flip side, leagues like the BBL can benefit because the BBL will have all their international players to choose from.

Potential Problems

This will definitely cause backlash by the franchises because prime time will be taken away from them.

For example, this rule would mean The Hundred cannot be scheduled in the summer months when Test cricket takes priority. This is the time that students have vacations, the weather is decent, and there is time to spend with family. The broadcasters may also suffer due to lower television ratings.

Who Said What

A 3 month dedicated window for Test cricket every year for both the men & women’s teams is the only way to protect the greatest format .. no other cricket but Test around those 3 months .. the other 9 months for all the leagues ICC events .. 👍👍

- Michael Vaughan (@MichaelVaughan) January 20, 2024

IV. Abolishment of the Bilateral ODI Series

The bilateral ODI series shall be abolished from the cricket calendar.

How Will it Work?

As simple as, no more bilateral ODI series.

Don’t worry, I am not advocating the ‘Death of ODI cricket’ or anything like that. We saw in the 2023 ODI World Cup that fans still enjoy ODI cricket albeit in a smaller dose. Removing ODI bilaterals will provide space in the calendar to accommodate Test cricket, franchise leagues, and qualification matches (more on this, a few sections later).

Potential Problems

Loss of sponsorships and advertising revenues for host countries.

V. Abolishment of the Bilateral T20I Series

The bilateral T20I series shall be abolished from the cricket calendar.

How Will it Work?

Read point IV. Same as above.

This year, India will only have the 3-match T20I series against Afghanistan and the IPL to choose its players for the World Cup. The franchise tournaments will be enough to assess the player pool for T20 World Cups.

Potential Problems

India does not allow their players to play in foreign leagues, so players will not have opportunities to improve and fight for their places in the World Cups.

VI. Transformation of the two-year World Test Championship cycle into a Concentrated Test World Cup

Every four years, the league of Test nations shall assemble to play in a Test World Cup during the two 3-month Test windows. The top eight ranked teams shall compete, four winners proceed to a round-robin semi-final, and the Top 2 compete in the Best of 3 final series at a pre-determined venue.

How Will it Work?

Four 3-match series will occur for the Top 8 ranked teams during the first six months of the year in two different neutral countries (ex: Aus v WI (#1 v#8), Ind v SL (#2 v #7), Eng v Pak (#3 v #6), SA v NZ (#4 v #5)).

The four winners will then play 6 Tests in a round-robin format in the ‘Final Stage’ of this Test World Cup. The Top 2 teams will then play a 3-match series for the World Cup Final.

Note: During this Test World Cup year, regular bilateral Test series will not take place since this will take place during the Test windows.

Potential Problems

The teams that did not qualify in the Top 8 or lost in the first stage may not play much Test cricket that year.

Who Said What

“The only effort that’s been made to try to keep it relevant, I think has made it worse!” 📉@markbutcher72 believes the introduction of the World Test Championship has contributed to the decline of Test cricket.


- Wisden (@WisdenCricket) January 6, 2024

VII: Two-Tiered Test League with Relegation & Promotion

Relegation and Promotion shall be established in Test cricket that will feed into the Test Match World Cup. Teams will be promoted and relegated at the end of every two-year cycle.

How Will it Work?

The 12-Test playing nations will be divided into two brackets (#1–6 in Bracket A and #7–12 in Bracket B). At the end of each two-year league, the bottom two of Bracket A will be demoted to Bracket B and vice-versa.

The detailed rules are outlined here: Relegation & Promotion Proposal in World Test Championship. Each team will play 18 Tests and 5 series during this time (against each member of their bracket).

The top eight-teams (all 6 teams in Bracket A and top 2 of Bracket B) will compete in the Test World Cup.

Potential Problems

Since we are proposing Test match windows, some windows may have too much Test cricket if that’s even possible.

VIII: 4-Day 3 Match Series instead of 2 Tests

The two-match Test series shall no longer be in existence. If for some reason, due to calendar conflicts, financial reasons, or unforeseen circumstances, there is only space for 15–20 days, then a three-match four-day Test series shall take place with the approval of the cricket boards of the interested parties.

How Will it Work?

If the Test match fund and calendar problems are solved with the above solutions, then there will not be a need for a 2-Test series (since teams will have enough money to host Tests).

However, if the situation arises that only 2-Tests are possible, then instead a 3-match 4-day Test series should take place. This will only add two days to the overall match time and maybe an additional week for the overall tour.

Potential Problems

This could result in too many draws if multiple teams agree on this approach.

Who Said What

“I’m not sure whether it’s changing it to four-day Test matches, so you can have an extra day to make sure that you play that third Test match.”

- Faf du Plessis

IX. Advertising Revenue and ICC Funding for County Cricket, Sheffield Shield, Ranji, and other domestic four-day tournaments.

The cricket boards will have to allocate their respective annual budgets to the betterment of domestic cricket. This includes, but is not limited to, advertising, recruiting, providing better facilities, etc. The ICC shall subsidize cricketing boards with a poor financial situation.

How Will it Work?

Franchise cricket is popular because the best players play in these leagues and sponsorship/TV revenue is high. On the other hand, County Cricket is shown on some YouTube channels, if at all.

The ICC should have a mandate to oversee that cricket boards are actively publicizing domestic cricket. This could be done by providing boards additional capital for domestic tournaments, having free to air channels, or by marketing domestic tournaments on social media channels.

Potential Problems

This could take additional manpower and resource, which will increase the costs of all parties involved.

X: Mandatory Practice Games with Similar Pitches

Each visiting team will be provided at least one practice match (for a 3-Test series) and two practice matches (for a series with 4 or more Tests). An impartial inspector from the ICC shall monitor practice pitches to ensure they are closely aligned with the pitches that the series will offer.

How Will it Work?

I have no problems with India coming up with rank turners or South Africa’s bounce troubling batters. I do, however, have a problem with multiple Tests finishing within two to three days and the lack of practice matches.

England have gone to India for a 5-match Test series without a practice match!

What should happen are at least 2 mandatory practice 4-day matches on pitches with similar conditions. If India plan on putting up rank turners, they need to make rank turners for these practice matches. If the series will have a variety of surfaces (for example, Dharamsala and Chennai), then the two practice matches need to have different surfaces. The ICC need to get involved as the impartial spectator to ensure consistency in pitches.

Potential Problems

This could mean longer tours for visiting teams and time away from home.

XI. Revival of the ODI Super League, Revamping of Qualification Systems & ICC Rankings

The ODI & T20 World Cup qualification systems shall be revamped and the ODI Super League shall be revived. No country, with the exception of the host nation, will be guaranteed a place in an ICC tournament. The space provided by the abolishment of bilateral series will be replaced by qualifying rounds that feed into the ODI Super League and World Cup qualifications.

How Will it Work?

The ODI Super League shall be revived for the benefit of ‘Associate’ nations like the Netherlands and Scotland.

Unlike the first edition of the ODI Super League, the Super League will be divided into a few groups (for example, 18-team Super League with 3 groups of 6). Every few months, a country will hold a Qualification round to play some of the matches. After a couple of rotations, each team in the group have played against each other twice (at least 10 matches per team before the World Cup).

These matches will be all be a part of World Cup qualification. No additional friendly bilateral games.

Potential Problems

Scheduling could be a problem with the various franchise leagues going around.

XII. Staggered ODI & T20 World Cups every 2 years, Removal of the ICC Champions Trophy

Each ICC World Cup tournament for both men’s & women’s cricket shall be held every four years, staggered by two years for the format. The Test World Cups will occur in the years there is no bilateral World Cups.

How Will it Work?

There are too many World Cups happening now. T20 World Cups in 2021 & 2022, an ODI World Cup in 2023, and another T20 WC coming up in 2024.

That’s an overkill. Rather, we can have ODI World Cups in 2027, 2031, 2035, etc. while T20 World Cups are hosted in 2029, 2033, 2037, etc. — also every four years. Then there will be space for the Test World Cup in 2028, 2032, 2036, etc.

This should also be implemented in the women’s game (One idea could be to stagger all 4–2027 Men’s ODI, 2028 WODI, 2029 — MT20, 2030 — WT20, etc.).

Potential Problems

Players might retire earlier if they know they cannot make it to the next ICC tournament.

XIII. Maximum Leagues Cap for Nationally Contracted Players

If a player is nationally contracted by their national cricket boards, they are limited to a maximum of three leagues (IPL, domestic league, and one other) per year or four leagues per year (if no IPL contract provided) or risk being fined their match fees. If a player does not have a national contract, they are not obligated to follow this limit.

How Will it Work?

We can come up with a compromise so that nationally contracted players can play a maximum of 3 leagues per year (including the IPL), any 4 leagues (if no IPL deals), and no restrictions if without a contract.

If Test windows and minimum Test match fees is implemented, then this should benefit both international cricket and the players themselves.

Potential Problems

Players may not sign the national contract at all and be franchise freelancers if that benefits them in the long run.

XIV: Re-Establish Champions League, Limit Expansion of the IPL

The Indian Premier League (IPL) shall not expand beyond the three-month window it is currently provided. The franchises are free to invest in other leagues around the world and a one-month window will be allocated for an annual Champions League.

How Will it Work?

It is clear that IPL franchises are starting to own stakes in other leagues. In the past, the Champions League did not provide value because a single player would have conflicts over multiple franchise but end up playing for their IPL teams.

If the IPL team starts doing year long contracts (for example, the same player plays for MI, MI Cape Town, MI NY, etc.), then there shouldn’t be a conflict of interest as before.

Potential Problems

For yet another competition to be in the cricket calendar, the IPL has to stop at the 10 teams, 3-month format. If the IPL is any longer, international cricket may cease to exist.

Final Thoughts

I was trying to write this article for a couple of weeks but for some reason, couldn’t find the words and ideas. But on a day where Shamar Joseph and Tom Hartley created history and Test cricket came to life, the idea just magically flowed through.

Much like Woodrow Wilson’s Fourteen points and the League of Nations (precursor to the United Nations), I fully expect the ICC to not pay attention to any of this and lead to major chasms in cricket in the coming years (much like the US themselves did not join the League of Nations, thereby weakened it, and ultimately were not able to prevent World War II).

This article may sound a bit quixotic in nature, but we have to start somewhere, don’t we? The world can only change if conversations begin.

The future of cricket is at stake. Will the ICC do something about it?

What are your thoughts? I want to know, comment below! How would you solve the problems that cricket faces today?

Thank you for reading.

Originally published at on January 29, 2024.



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