MUMBAI: Former New Zealand coach Mike Hesson on Monday emphasised that the World Test Championship is “critical” for survival of the longest format of the game. As per the International Cricket Council (ICC), the nine top-ranked sides will compete in the championship with each side playing six series on a home-and-away basis against mutually selected opponents in a two-year cycle.
The cycle will begin soon after the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019, with the Ashes in England set to kick-start the event. The top-two sides will then contest in the ICC World Test Championship final in June 2021.
“Test cricket will survive as long as there is context. The World Test Championship is critical to its survival. If there is no context to matches and they just operate bilateral tours in isolation, then the relevancy will disappear over time,” Hesson told a select group of reporters here at an interaction arranged by Star Sports group of channels.
Hesson, who coached New Zealand for six years before taking over as head coach of IPL team Kings XI Punjab, stressed Test cricket even now generates a lot of interest. “People are getting scared that Test cricket is disappearing, but I think that’s not the case. There is still a high level of interest,” added the 44-year-old Hesson.
“With the World Test Championship, you know that you play eight Tests over a two-year period. Players love playing Test cricket and playing for their country, but if you add context, that leads towards a points table or final or whatever, then it has so much more meaning,” he elaborated.
Meanwhile, on his new IPL assignment, Hesson said, “It has been a big month and I am trying to get started for the auction in a few weeks’ time. “Getting to know the team around Kings XI Punjab has been an important part of the last couple of weeks. I am doing some scouting and running some trials. I have enjoyed it”.
Asked what has impressed him most in the IPL, Hesson said, “Every year the skills the bowlers bring are different. Last year we saw the knuckle ball for the first time. Before that we saw the slower bouncer. Every year we see bowlers coming up with different initiatives.”