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For Test cricket to thrive, India has leadership role to play: CWI CEO Johnny Grave

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Bridgetown, June 16: Test cricket remains in danger and powerhouse India has a “leadership role to play” in ensuring the five-day game not just survives but thrives in smaller regions like the West Indies, its CEO Johnny Grave said.
Grave, who joined Cricket West Indies (CWI) back in 2017, lauded the BCCI’s unwavering commitment to Test cricket despite a gruelling calendar but said more needs to be done at the ICC level to protect the red-ball game outside the big three comprising India, England and Australia.
Only the big three out of the nine competing ICC full members will play a five-match series in the 2023-2025 World Test Championship cycle. Three full members – Ireland, Afghanistan and Zimbabwe – have never been part of the championship introduced in 2019.
Grave, currently busy with co-hosting of the T20 World Cup, spoke his mind on future of the game and the role he expects the BCCI to play.
“India have a leadership role to play. They’re now the number one board when it comes to power, influence, and resources. To date, they’ve been fantastic in how they’ve continued to play all three formats of the game, their commitment to Test cricket. I don’t think it has ever been as strong as it is now,” said Grave.
With the ICC being a members’ body, the BCCI’s stance on any subject carries huge significance. Are they doing enough in the leadership role? “I think they are. They’re becoming increasingly influential in the key decisions that the ICC makes. The BCCI were hugely supportive in one of the biggest things the ICC have achieved in the last 12 months, which is getting cricket back into the Olympics.
“The fact that India came on board and supported that bid was absolutely, in my opinion, crucial for the result that the ICC got, which was the acceptance of cricket into the LA Games.
“And we’re already seeing from the associate world in particular, that being an Olympic sport has a very big impact on them positively in terms of how they can get money from government, get money from the Olympic associations to drive the game at all levels,” he said referring to the sport’s return to the Summer Games after 128 years.
Centralise at least travel cost
and accommodation in WTC
India have toured the West Indies thrice in the last five years, providing a massive financial boost to the CWI, which depends on media rights money from Indian and English broadcasters to keep the game afloat in the Caribbean.
As of the now, series in the WTC cycle are staged like bilateral rubbers with the home board pocketing all broadcast revenues and the visiting teams having to pay for their own travel.
Grave wants the ICC to centralise at least the travel costs as the West Indies have to spend the most in crisscrossing the world. “We have to have a league mentality that we’re all in it together as the Test playing nations. And I think the World Test Championship is a start to that. I think it’s gaining some momentum. I think it can be improved.” (PTI)

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