45 all out is damning evidence the gulf between some sides is too great. Sorry War but your assertions are way off the mark, certainly about the "8 teams that play tests well". West Indies and New Zealand are ok and can sometimes hold their own, but most of the time they are just clearly better than Zimbabwe and Bangladesh but way behind even the most inconsistent of sides in the rest.
This is a baseless generalization. I'm not doubting that nz getting bowled out for 45 is not very bad. But it was only a year ago that the proteas routed australia for 45 & nz beat australia in a test match.
Fact is NZ is simply suffering now from an exposure to their lack of depth caused by their two best batsmen being absent during the well document circumstances & dan vettori being injured.
Add three of them back plus dean brownlie who scored an impressive hundred today & a nz test team of:
...is solid enough to be stable mid-level test side that is potentially on the up like windies & pakistan. Not far behind australia who batting is still shaky. While everyone is still behind south africa & england who are the only two complete test sides.
Just because football doesn't have tiers or divisions at international level is irrelevant, football is MASSIVE compared to cricket or hasn't anyone told you.............? The World Cup finals has 32 teams in it, New Zealand and West Indies would be about 32-64 more teams outside of that if you wanted to draw comparisons. They'd be like Finland or Iceland, not a bad side but never qualifying.
Exactly - the massive nature of football means compared to cricket shows why cricket can't have tiers especially in tests. Its is far easier for most teams in the world to become good at the basics of football quickly. But its takes YEARSS for teams to be good at the basics of test cricket - that has been conclusively shown through 135 years of test cricket.
This is why as i've consistently said. Associates needs to prove their consistently in ODI & T20 first before they are even considered for tests.
And because you don't think it would work, although arguing there is no precedent and other such angles barely count as arguments, what do you suggest will?!?!?!?! Continue to see one sided thrashings for the sake of it? Introduce a new Test side every 12 years and HOPE they progress better than Bangladesh!?!?!?
to avoid repeating myself:
Well firstly for international tournaments, i'm in favour of the 50 overs world cup being a similar format the 1992 world cup. Top 8 teams + the best associate (this would decided in a play-off competition), each teams plays each other once in the group, then the top 4 teams into semi's.
While the T20 world-cup would involve mostly all the better associates. 16 teams, 4 groups. Because t20 is format where you will popular cricket to the associates & have a better chance of an upset.
If via the t20 world-cup associates show much improvement on the field & the country starts likening cricket more. Then we can consider getting more teams involved in the 50 overs cup, which would mean an adjustment in the format.
If now finally an associate team now makes good progression into the 50 overs cup as a odi team, along with the country getting more into cricket, plus doing well in a-team tours od & first-class 4-day games vs major nations - then i'd say they should be considered for tests status.
All these factors need to work hand in hand. Cant go about giving a associate test status just because they caused an upset in a few world cups like what bangladesh did in 1999 & why people have been calling for ireland to get test status based on upsets they achived vs pak & england in the 07 & 2011 cups.
The sanctity & tradition of what makes a good test team must be preserved. If associates like ireland, scotland, afghanistan can successfully complete this progression then yea they should never play tests. If its has to be they are only proven to be good @ one or both of the limited overs formats then so be it. No team however must even be given the free ride into tests like bangladesh did.
West Indies (last 3 series)
vs Australia : P9 W0 D3 L6
vs England : P10 W1 D5 L4
vs India : P10 W0 D6 L4
vs Pakistan : P7 W2 D1 L4
vs South Africa : P10 W1 D3 L6
vs Sri Lanka : P7 W1 D3 L3
P53 W5 D21 L27 = Won 9.43% Lost 50.94%
New Zealand (last 3 series)
vs Australia : P6 W1 D0 L5
vs England : P9 W1 D1 L7
vs India : P8 W0 D4 L4
vs Pakistan : P7 W1 D2 L4
vs South Africa : P7 W0 D2 L5
vs Sri Lanka : P6 W2 D0 L4
P43 W5 D9 L29 = Won 11.63% Lost 67.44%
Both sides lose over half their Tests against the top six sides, even inconsistent sides like Pakistan and Sri Lanka beat New Zealand and West Indies. Just five wins in over 40 Tests each hardly represents quality, and one freak series win between them and that over England when ironically they were skittled very very cheaply like the kiwis have been.
So there is little evidence the Test scene is 8 "strong"
That between 18 series the opposition have not offered more than 2-3 Tests to New Zealand shows they see them as not much of a threat. West Indies only gained 10 more because of tradition, something War seems stuck in. Neither side may ever become a force, again in the case of West Indies, in fact if you wish to compare cricket to football then the "Test World Championship" of Cricket is like if World Cup qualifiers were 10 team groups. There will be 2-4 strong sides, probably 2-3 reasonable sides who could win the odd game at the finals but 3-4 sides who might beat sides occaisionally but mostly only each other.
Spare me the dull statistical breakdown sir owzat - windies & new zealand have shown enough evidence in 2012 that they are improving. When i say they are "8 strong test sides" i'm not simply talking about performances on the field. If that is the case then as aforementioned, their is only 2 "strong" test sides in south africa & england.
We also have to look at where those countries are with the domestic structure & national interest in the game currently in a society that lives for fast sports that finish in 3 hours.
When it comes to the latter the top 8 nations have that equally. The difference between the top 8 nations since the post war has always been in the domestic structures production line in producing test standard players.
Domestic structures comparison between aus/sa/wi/eng vs ind/pak/sri/nz since 1948
Australia, England, Windies, S Africa are the only teams teams that have been legitimate # 1 teams in test history. That is not a coincidence because while they were the best teams in the world they had the domestic structures able to consistently produce good batsmen & bowlers for tests.
Windies of course declined in the last 15 years because the caribbean regional isn't has finally strong as the other 3 - which is highlighted by the fact they dont even have a sponsor for their domestic competitions. But once they get that back, the windies should be ok since the talent is around.
However the other 4 nations have had the same problems from the start that still affects them now.
Generally except for now gone tendy era of batsman, indian bats dont play pace well & they don't produce fast bowlers. Producing on 3 notable test bowlers since their inception in kapil dev, khan & srinath tells you everything. India of course given their financial power in the game have the unique ability to help fix this problem themselves - they dont need ICC help. Bu this problems is an age old one of indian cricket in tests, which really should have been eradicated to help them be a better test nation consistently.
N zealand problem is that they dont produce enough players of the crowe, hadlee, bond, astle, cairns type talent at once. Its sometimes one or two such players which such great talent among some hard working players.
They need the financial help to improve their grassroots so that they can produce more special talent players collectively.
Pakistan always have talent, especially since the 70s. Pretty much the best asia team of producing a good balance of batsmen & bowers that can regularly test the non-asian teams. But corruption & nepotism is their historical problem. Their domestic teams is run by company teams instead of the provinces, which is why imran khan himself said in the 80s he stopped playing cricket in pak domestically because its very poor way of identifying talent. ICC has failed them horribly in this front due to their poor leadership as a governing body.
Sri Lanka is sort of an unknown since they are potentially coming to end of their first great era of players in the short 30 year test history. But one suspects that given they are weak financial board, their don't the ready made domestic talent to find new a new sangakkara, jaya, vaas, murali anytime soon.
While that's the state of all of them in tests, all of the top 8 nations for example have been the best in the world in odi's at some point in the rankings or won cup/champions trophy titles since 1975. This again shows how hard it is to be good a tests, so its ludicrous to even contemplate putting nz, sri, pak & windies in a lower tier just because their test performances have been below par most of time.
ICC can do a lot financially to help them bridge the gap, since they are done the hard yards of being test nations for 75+ years & it would be better for the test game if competition between all 8 is stronger.