ICC approves Test Championship, ODI League

Pakistan in line to become Ireland's first ever Test opponents in 2018

The ICC has given the green light to a Test championship and ODI league as well as allowing countries to experiment with four-day Tests.

The Test championship will consist of nine countries and will begin after the 2019 World Cup, followed by the two-top teams playing each other in a championship final in 2021.

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.

South Africa will play Zimbabwe in cricket's first four-day test on December 26 and Richardson said that while the concept was still in the trial phase it should help Afghanistan and Ireland, who were granted test status in June, get up to speed faster.

"We would like to thank the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) most sincerely for agreeing to be our first opponent in Test cricket", Deutrom added.

The moves are created to add "context" to all test and one-day matches during the cycle of the league, answering concerns that test cricket's popularity has been supported exclusively on existing rivalry between nations.

Irish, the chief executive of the Federation of International Cricketers' Associations, urged stakeholders of the game not to look at ad hoc solutions to Test cricket.

Under the rules of the test league, the competing teams will have to play three home and three away series over the term of the competition, with each series comprising a minimum of two and maximum of five tests.

Points would be allocated for every bilateral series.

At the end of the cycle the top two teams will meet in a World Test League Championship final.

Richardson also referred to the difficulty in getting the leagues off the ground while interest in the long-form game has seemed to dwindle, partly because of the rise of Twenty20 leagues.

A test championship has always been mooted as a means to make the longest form of the game more relevant for fans who have increasingly turned towards limited-overs matches.

However, Irish was concerned that countries trialing four-day Tests on a random basis may lead to confusion and uncertainty around the format.

"Test matches have witnessed a decline in attendances in recent years, throwing the door open to a number of means to engage fans, including the introduction of day-night Tests". Members will be able to schedule four-day games by bilateral agreement and a set of standardised playing conditions will now be finalised.

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