(Photo: Getty Images)
By Adam Ellis
The ICC has approved two new competition formats for international Tests and ODI cricket after its council voted for a nine-team Test league and 13-team ODI league.
The Test league will be launched in 2019 after the ICC met in Auckland to discuss new proposals and will consist of the top nine ranked nations from the ICC’s Test rankings.
Speaking of the new format, ICC chief executive Dave Richardson reiterated the feeling among the powers-that-be that Test cricket needed to provide an ‘international context’ from all series and tours.
“The approval of both leagues is the conclusion of two years of work from the members who have explored a whole range of options to bring context to every game,” Richardson said.
“The ICC board decision means we can now go and finalise a playing schedule … as well as the points system, hosting arrangements and competition terms.”
The Test league will span a two-year cycle where results will determine two teams to play in a final, with the inaugural championship’s finale to be played at Lord’s, according to reports.
In other changes, nations will be allowed to experiment with four-day Test matches – though the result from these matches will be exempt from the league’s standings – but Richardson did assert that this proposal is only at a trial stage rather than becoming the new norm.
“Throughout the discussions about the future of Test cricket it became clear that whilst context is crucial we must also consider alternatives and trial initiatives that may support the future viability of Test cricket,” Richardson added.
“The trial is exactly that, a trial, just in the same way day-night tests and technology have been trialled.”
As things currently stand, Zimbabwe and recently inducted Tier One nations Ireland and Afghanistan would not be included in the Test league.
ICC Director Giles Clarke speaks about Test cricket after the ICC meetings in Auckland. pic.twitter.com/r2WSOY8A0q
— ICC Media (@ICCMediaComms) October 13, 2017