It is in such a context that Indian captain Sourav Ganguly's suggestion for a two-tier Test format has come. The governing body of the game has wisely decided to pay heed to his suggestions. Such a two-tier format prevents the ignominy of a weak team like Bangladesh having the gargantuan task of playing against a champion side like Australia.
What is being enacted in Zimbabwe right now is a great travesty of justice. Eventhough the Zimbabwe Cricket Union has decided to do away with the Test series, the ODI series with Australia is set to begin next week. The hapless Zimbabweans have lined themselves up for a virtual carnage at the hands of the rampaging world champions. It would have been fair to scrap the ODI series too as it's meaningless to see the likes of Taibu and Co being offered as mincemeat for Ponting, McGrath et al.
In the name of globalisation, the higher echelons of the games' governing body roped in minnows. The next World Cup in the Caribbean is to have 16 teams in the fray. The idea to give non-Test playing nations more exposure by having them play against the big names in the game has not gone well. Even the 2003 World Cup was alleged to have been too lengthy what with most of the games the so-called minnows played drawing small crowds and the outcome becoming too predictable.
Bangladesh is a classic example of the present conundrum. Ever since being admitted to the Test fold, they have failed to meet the international standards having lost all but one of the Test matches played. They haven't fared better either in the ODIs too. The fact that ICC is forced to think twice before granting Test status to Kenya can be attributed to the Bangladesh experience.
However, if there is a two-tier system with the lowest ranked sides placed in a single group, then this wide chasm that exists between international sides can be reduced to a great extent. The lowly ranked teams will have the privilege of level-playing fields and there they can vie for top honours. This creates more competition and less frustration.
Crowds flock grounds to see runs being scored freely and wickets tumbling at regular intervals. For this to happen, the contests should be even. Not the ones being witnessed today where five-day Test matches are over in two days with lowly ranked teams offering themselves as cannon fodder for their highly ranked opposition.