Quiet Swinger plotting at HQ

Why haven’t we heard from Dave Richardson for six months? At least, why haven’t we, the public, heard anything from him…or even about him?

The answer is simple: because ‘Swinger’ is a canny operator and was always fully aware that a softly-softly approach in the first stages of his new career as Director of Cricket and Playing Affairs at the ICC would pay the richest dividends in the long run.

A huge amount has already been achieved, of course, but Richardson has carefully ensured that credit is paid to the big bosses first – after all, Malcolm Speed (CEO) and Malcolm Gray (president) have spent a little longer receiving the abuse that was so easily and justifiably hurled at the ICC for most of the 1980s and 1990s.

But rumours that the ICC is about to launch its one-day world championship tells me that Swinger has been even busier in the last couple of months. Formalising of Test and one-day logs was always something very high on his agenda when he accepted the job.

Don’t tell anyone you read it here, but the truth is he found the Test Championship system deeply unsatisfactory when it was launched. His gravest concern was that ‘dead’ Tests would be all-too-frequent with just two points available for a series win and nothing counting for the third match in a series when one team was leading 2-0. And we all know what can happen to ‘dead’ contests.

Understandably Richardson was persuaded to leave the Test system alone “for the time being” until the cricket world had become used to having one in the first place. Then he could make changes and adapt it to make it ‘safer.’

But stand by for a system of cunning ingenuity when the format is announced to determine who the one-day world champions are. Every match will count, as will overall results between nations. So if a country is leading a five-match series 3-0 there will be just as much incentive for them to win it 5-0 as there will be for the losing team to reduce the deficit to 3-2.

And how does Richardson propose to do this? Prize money, something that appeals to all sportsmen and is currently a glaring omission from Test cricket. No one plays just for honour these days.

Perhaps Richardson will even pop his head above the parapet of corporate anonymity soo, too. It’ll be good to hear from the man who was once an extremely astute columnist on this page…

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