ICC CEO David Richardson has said that the game's governing body is willing to help and play a role in reviving the bilateral cricketing ties between neighbours India and Pakistan.
Due to various political disputes, the two nations haven't played a bilateral series since December 2012 and the last Indo-Pak Test match dates back to November 2007. Although the Asian countries have met several times in various ICC and ACC events, it is still a huge concern for the game that its two full members don't quite form a healthy cricketing relationship.
Speaking on the matter, David Richardson told the reporters on Monday, September 24, "We obviously don't like the fact that two members are in dispute with each other, It's a matter between India and Pakistan. Of course, we would like the resumption of ties on a bilateral basis between India and Pakistan." he added, "And we will facilitate any discussion if we can, but as I said it up to the two parties themselves. We have a dispute resolution process which is available for the members to use and occasionally when there are disputes, members can use that process,"
On whether the World Test Championship will provide any relief to the issue, Richardson said, "For the first cycle, they are not scheduled to play. But as per plan, those who didn't play in the first cycle would play in the next. I know India and Pakistan are talking along those lines. We will try to facilitate that."
He also talked about the need for Cricket to become an Olympic sport and the administrative obstacles that the ICC is facing in this.
"I like to see cricket at the 2028 Olympics." he cleared, "But the bottomline is we have no chance to take cricket to Olympics unless we are united," and said, "At this stage we need to convince the BCCI that it is a good thing for cricket to be in Olympics from all aspects. It will generate more fans, more growth of the game and the game will get bigger."
The other major concern, Richardson admitted, is the need to better promote the Test match game and increase its popularity all over the world. There has been a substantial decrease in the overall attendance for Tests in stadiums across various continents and the ICC understands the enormity of the situation.
Richardson said, "I don't think there is a one particular reason or solution to the problem of poor attendances in Asia. There is a whole lot of issues. If day-night Tests are more popular in a particular country, then it makes sense to play Test matches when people are available to come and watch," and added, "We need to improve the marketing of Test matches. We will start the Test championships next year which will provide a context and a meaning for Test cricket. The second step is we need to spend more money promoting better resources, promoting Test cricket like we promote domestic T20 leagues."
"And we also need to schedule the Test matches in advance so everybody knows that, 'okay there is a Test match coming up in March in Colombo'. We haven't done that well enough until now." he concluded, "There is a myriad of different things to do to improve the attendances, but the talking point is creating the context for Test cricket."
(Inputs from ICC)