During an interval of the England v New Zealand Test match, ICC chair Greg Barclay was interviewed on the BBC's Test Match Special. To say that his comments have been poorly received would be something of an understatement.

Now it must be said that Barclay no more runs world cricket than Ronald McDonald runs a popular fast-food chain. The ICC chair is essentially an honorary post that serves as a spokesperson for the ICC board. Nevertheless, what he says is no doubt the thinking of those that do run world cricket so what he says carries some weight.

And what did he say?

Talking about how the calendar for the next future tours programme from 2023-2027 is currently packed with T20 leagues and global tournaments he said "Some countries may have to make room and play less Test cricket" and that "Some of the smaller full members will have to accept that they canít play the amount of Test cricket that they wanted".

In the unlikely event that you are unsure which countries they are, he went on to say "England, Australia, India I think will be playing Test cricket as they are now".

There is often a trade-off with the ICC. We have seen this recently with the expansion of the men's ODI World Cup to 14 teams leading to an end of the ODI Super League. More recently, the expansion of the Women's ODI Championship to ten teams has been coupled with an end to pathway events with only the 16 (17 if we include the Afghan women's team, which Barclay also had something to say about, but more on that later) ODI status teams able to qualify.

But it's never the big three of England, Australia and India who have to give anything up is it? They just carry on as they always have. The big three never went away, it just isn't formalised in the ICC constitution in the same way it was before.

The unequal distribution of ICC revenue which sees the big three get the lions share despite needing it the least means that they don't need to make sacrifices like the smaller full members and associates have to.

The pathway for the first ever women's Under-19 World Cup was announced this past week. The USA get a bye to the World Cup as no other Americas nation has a big enough girls development programme, whilst only two nations in each of Europe and East Asia Pacific are able to meet the requirements.

Some ICC members get as little as $18,000 annually from the ICC. When they take into account administration costs and matches for senior national teams, how are they supposed to fund a girls development programme? The large qualifying pool for Africa is more a reflection of how much further funding can go in that part of the world rather than a sign of a greater commitment to developing women's cricket.

Perhaps if the big three gave up some of their share of ICC revenue, more countries would be able to have a girls development programme? But they never have to give anything up.

News broke yesterday that the ECB are planning to invite Ireland to play a Test match ahead of the 2023 Ashes series. It would be Ireland's first Test since the one they played at Lord's ahead of the 2019 Ashes. Cricket Ireland currently can't afford to play Tests, and whilst the ECB's invitation will no doubt be received with open arms, one Test every four years is hardly enough.

The Test Match fund that allowed lower ranked full members to play some otherwise uneconomically viable series was ditched several years ago now. The Intercontinental Cup, which at one point was going to be a regular event for the top associates with the winners getting a chance to play-off with the lowest ranked Test team and gain temporary Test status, ended when Ireland and Afghanistan got full membership.

Perhaps if the big three gave up some of their share of ICC revenue, the Test Match fund and Intercontinental Cup could be reinstated? But they never have to give anything up.

The Big Three's financial greed needs to be constantly satisfied so the ICC needs to generate revenue. The way they do this ends up being having more global tournaments, for both men and women. This then leads to having less time for bilateral Test matches, even if the smaller full members could afford it.

Ironically, given the need to generate revenue to feed them, the big three tend to object to these extra global events as they eat into the time they want for their bilateral series which, more often than not, are against each other.

Perhaps if the big three gave up some of their share of ICC revenue, the ICC wouldn't need to schedule more global events, freeing up time in the schedule? But they never have to give anything up.

Barclay also had something to say on the future of the women's game. On Afghanistan, he described the Taliban's takeover as a "blip" in the development of women's cricket there. It is, of course, a ridiculous statement. Describing the takeover of a country by an extremist group that has no regard for the most basic of human rights, especially those of women, as a blip is amazingly bone-headed. He did point to the Afghanistan working group which, of course, contains no women.

As for women's Test cricket, he said that "white ball is the way of the future" and "I donít really see Tests as part of the landscape moving forward to any real extent". This will come as a blow to many women's players who absolutely do want to play more red-ball cricket, including Test matches. The ICC likes to tout the good work it does with equality. But it seems equality only goes so far.

Perhaps if the big three gave up some of their share of ICC revenue, the ICC would be able to fund more women's Test matches, maybe even launch a women's Test Championship? But they never have to give anything up.

All in all his comments paint a bleak future for those of us who love the longest format. There are those who say that Test cricket is dying. They've been about since 1877 and it's still here. T20 cricket is undoubtedly the way of the future, but that doesn't mean ignoring the past. If the ICC don't bother to even try to save it, Test cricket may well, if not die out completely, become critically endangered outside of the big three. Never mind the possibility of any more Test nations. That door is well and truly shut at the moment.

In the associate world, we've already seen the Intercontinental Cup canned, the World Cricket League change into the current pathway that involves fewer teams and tournaments, and the global qualifier for the T20 World Cup disappear in the next cycle. Women's Test cricket has decreased ever since the ICC took control of the women's game. The cutbacks are everywhere. But never in the big three.

This isn't meant to be an anti-big three column. To ignore the importance that England, Australia and India have in the world game is to ignore reality. The wider cricketing world needs them. But they also need the wider cricketing world. Even the most dedicated cricket fan would become bored if the only cricket is the franchise T20 tournaments in those countries and internationals between those countries.

The big three do not currently need such a large share of ICC revenue. If they were to give up some of that share, it could make the global game healthier and more robust. It would enrich the big three just as much as it would enrich the rest of the global game.

But they never have to give anything up, do they?