The International Cricket Council (ICC) gave green light to a 9-team Test league and 14-team ODI league on Friday morning with an aim to bring context and meaning to bilateral cricket. The news was confirmed by ICC on its Twitter handle. Under this new format, the Test series league will see 9 teams play six series over two years – three home and three away, while the ODI league will be a direct qualification pathway towards the ICC Cricket World Cup and will be contested by the 12 Full Members plus the winners of the current ICC World Cricket League Championship.
The governing body believes that this new format will allow it to bring context and meaning to bilateral cricket. “Bringing context to bilateral cricket is not a new challenge, but this is the first time a genuine solution has been agreed on,” the ICC Chairman Shashank Manohar said, as per the press release by ICC. “This means fans around the world can enjoy international cricket knowing every game counts and in the case of the ODI league, it counts towards qualification to the ICC Cricket World Cup,” he added.
The schedules of the leagues, due to start in 2019 and 2020 respectively, will now be finalised. The Test series league will see nine teams play six series over two years – three home and three away – with each having a minimum of two Tests and a maximum of five and all matches being played over five days culminating in a World Test League Championship Final.
As far as the ODI league goes, in the first edition of the league, each side will play four home and four away series each comprising of three ODIs moving to all teams playing each other from the second cycle onwards.
Reacting to the development, the ICC Chief Executive David Richardson said, “This is a significant point in time for ICC Members and our collective desire to secure a vibrant future for international bilateral cricket.”
“The ICC Board decision today means we can now go and finalise a playing schedule for the first edition as well as the points system, hosting arrangements and competition terms,” he added.