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International Cricket Council Confirms Test Championship And ODI League

The International Cricket Council (ICC) has approved the much-talked about Test Championship and One-Day International League, the global cricketing body’s chief executive Dave Richardson said on Friday. The Test series league will see nine 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 ICC gave the green light to a nine-team Test league and a 13-team ODI league aimed at bringing context and meaning to bilateral cricket during its board meeting in Auckland. The schedules of the leagues, due to start in 2019 and 2020 respectively, will now be finalised.

In the first edition of the ODI league, each side will play four home and four away series each comprising of three matches moving to all teams playing each other from the second cycle onwards.

“I would like to congratulate our Members on reaching this agreement and putting the interests of the development of the game first. Bringing context to bilateral cricket is not a new challenge, but this is the first time a genuine solution has been agreed on,” ICC Chairman Shashank Manohar said.

“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,” Manohar 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 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,” ICC Chief Executive David Richardson said.

“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,” Richardson said.

“Our priority was to develop an international cricket structure that gave context and meaning across international cricket and particularly in the Test arena. This has been delivered and every Test in the new League will be a five-day Test format,” Richardson added.

“However 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. The trial is exactly that, a trial, just in the same way day-night Tests and technology have been trialled by Members,” he said.

“Four-day Tests will also provide the new Test playing countries with more opportunities to play the longer version of the game against more experienced opponents, which, in turn, will help them to hone their skills and close the gap with the top nine ranked teams,” he added.

A number of decisions around event hosts were taken by the ICC Board in Auckland. The ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifier will be held in Zimbabwe in March 2018.

The process for the appointment of the ICC female independent director was also confirmed in the meeting.

(With inputs from ICC press release)

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