Dubai, UAE – In a move designed to more accurately reflect the rewards of becoming number one ranked Test nation in the world, the ICC Test Mace is to be replaced by a Black Spot, traditional pirate curse for a leader about to be deposed.

The decision comes after a tumultuous eighteen month period of Test cricket where each nation that has risen to become the top ranked side has subsequently seen their form evaporate and their position quickly usurped.

It’s understood the idea to award a Black Spot came from ICC Chief Executive, Dave Richardson, a former South African wicketkeeper and lifelong fan of the Robert Louis Stevenson classic, Treasure Island.

“We’ve wanted to replace the Test Mace for some time,” admitted ICC spokesman Pete Wantage, “Let’s be honest, it looks like the kind of pugil stick Liberace would have used on Gladiators. And now that India, England and South Africa have all responded to receiving it by playing their worst cricket in years, it seems like a ridiculously ostentatious reward for what is essentially a transitory role. Fortunately the Black Spot is a great replacement. Something everyone can get behind. Because apart from all the people they raped and killed, everybody loves pirates don’t they? The ICC are certainly huge fans, particularly of their business practices.”

But would Dave Richardson be willing to wear an eye-patch and fake parrot should he have to award the Black Spot to Michael Clarke at Perth next month? Wantage was unwilling to commit.

“I’ll have to get back to you on specific details.”