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West Indies not playing enough test matches

Bridgetown.

A recent significant reduction in test matches played by the West Indies and some other countries has drawn the attention of the International Cricket Council (ICC).

The ICC cricket committee has recommended that full member nations be required to play a minimum number of tests over a four-year period, in what is being presented as the latest attempt to protect the status of the five-day game.

The squeeze on tests has intensified over the last couple of years, to the extent where the future of test cricket in some countries is increasingly questioned.

Last September, the Sri Lanka and West Indies boards mutually decided to shelve the two-test series, scheduled for this May, and instead play a tri-series involving India.

West Indies will likely play no further tests this 2013 home season, after Pakistan's tour in July was also stripped, to include just five ODIs and two Twenty20s, but not the two proposed Tests.

In August, the inaugural Caribbean Premier League begins, while Pakistan have tentative plans to play India and Zimbabwe, although there are doubts over both.

Depending on whether West Indies' tests in New Zealand are penciled in for December this year or January 2014, they may just play two tests in 2013.

Reports are that the number of tests to be played, that has been proposed by the committee is merely a minimum four tests each year, which would mean at least 16 over a four-year cycle.

If a four-year period is taken from September 2009 to September 2013 – using current fixtures – England will have played the most Test matches with 49, while of the leading eight nations, New Zealand and West Indies will have had 31 apiece.

Bangladesh sit at 18, with Zimbabwe languishing on eight, due to their self-imposed exile from the format which ended in 2011.