Watch ICC's new plan: Test championship set to start from 2019
ICC has given the green light to a test championship and one-day international league, while countries are also welcome to experiment with four-day test matches, the world governing body said on Friday. Photograph: (Reuters)
The face of Test cricket is set to change forever!
The International Cricket Council(ICC) has allowed Test nations not only to experiment with the four-day Test format but has also given a go-ahead for Test championship and one-day international league.
The idea of a Test championship has been on the anvil for the past four years but the ICC was forced to abandon it due to financial reasons.
"Our priority was to develop a structure that gave context and meaning across international cricket and particularly in the Test arena," ICC chief David Richardson said in a statement.
The Test league will start in 2019 and will have all nine teams play six series over two years - three at home and three away.
It will culminate in a final between the two top teams at Lord's in mid-2021.
"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.
The nine nations in the competition are Australia, Bangladesh, England, India, New Zealand, Pakistan, South Africa, Sri Lanka, and West Indies.
The ICC also intends to establish a 13-nation one-day international league starting in 2020.
Television companies have for a long time tried to stay away from promoting the longer format especially with the onslaught of T20 and the Indian Premier League eating up the TRPs but the ICC has maintained Test cricket needs a new lease of life.
"Already we've seen that Test cricket is at different stages in different countries and it's still very popular, extremely popular in the likes of England and Australia, in particular, and maybe less so in some others," ICC chairman said.
"And whether we can resurrect the interest in those countries where test cricket, the interest in test cricket has fallen away is what we are trying to, hopefully, achieve," Richardson added.