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‘Putting Test cricket on free-to-air television could bankrupt the game,’ warns ECB chairman Colin Graves

Before he goes he would like to see a redrawing of the ECB’s drug policy after the Alex Hales case earlier this year. Hales was banned for failing a second test for recreational drugs. Under current guidelines agreed with the Professional Cricketers’ Association, counties and the ECB are only informed when a player fails a second test. Graves would like it tightened up so counties and the ECB are told after a first positive test.

“We have been having discussions with PCA on that,” he said. “I think if anybody is tested positive, both the county and ECB should know straight away so we can work with them, not crucify them, but to be there to help and assist. If you don’t know after the first time then you are in the wilderness.”

Graves supports the Test championship but believes more money needs to be on offer to encourage countries to stick with Test cricket, which struggles to attract audiences around the world.

“We were the ones who have pushed the Test championship off the ground at ICC because Test cricket needs something to keep it all together. The worrying thing is you look at Test cricket around the world and most of the grounds are empty and that is the sad bit,” he said. “Fortunately we don’t see that in England but ICC has to get its act together and make sure Test championship is marketed properly.

“They have to put finances behind it. I don’t think new members coming to the ICC should play Test cricket for the first five years. They should just play white ball cricket until they can make sure they are sustainable financially because they could lose a fortune. We know if you don’t have full grounds you will struggle to make revenue from a Test match. Time will tell.”

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