A NEW BEGINNING
Cricbuzz Staff •
The provision to keep a maximum of five Tests has been made keeping in mind a high-profile series like The Ashes. © Getty
The International Cricket Council, on Friday (October 13), took steps to rejuvenate international cricket and provide more context to the bilateral series’ played across the globe. The world cricket governing body approved the much-awaited ICC Test Championship and One-Day International League after the governing body’s meeting in Auckland. Here are answers to some of the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) in the case.
ICC TEST CHAMPIONSHIP
What is an ICC Test Championship?
The ICC has decided to introduce a structure where nine Test playing nations will play six series – three at home and three away – against each other. The teams will receive points on the basis of their performance.
Backdrop of the ICC Test Championship…
Back in 1997, Ali Bacher, the then United Cricket Board of South Africa supremo, Clive Lloyd and Arif Ali Abbasi, former Pakistan Cricket Board CEO, had mooted the idea of a ‘Test World Cup’. However, it was only around 12 years later in 2009, when the ICC discussed with the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC), and drew out a plan to start the Test match Championship. Former New Zealand captain Martin Crowe had a key role to play.
The proposal was then taken into account by the ICC Chief Executives’ Committee at a meeting at their headquarters in Dubai in 2010. The governing body soon approved the recommendation and announced that the inaugural tournament would be hosted by England in 2013. However, in 2011, the 2013 tournament was scrapped due to financial issues and certain obligations to broadcasters. Instead, England hosted the ICC Champions Trophy in 2013.
At the chief executives’ meeting in April 2012, it was noted that the inaugural Test Championship play-offs would take place in 2017. However, even that idea didn’t materialise before it was eventually approved today.
Why was the concept approved?
With the attendances dwindling for Test matches all over the globe, the ICC acknowledged the need to bring the crowd back to the five-day game. And with the broadcasters also willing to pump in more money into T20 leagues, there was a need to bring in a new concept without tinkering the age-old format. Providing a Test series more context can attract fans from other nations as well since the result can have an impact on their team’s standing.
Which nine teams will take part in the Test Championship?
India, Australia, New Zealand, Windies, England, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Pakistan will take part in the Test Championship. Even though Zimbabwe, Ireland and Afghanistan have Test status, they won’t be part of the first cycle.
When will the Test Championship start?
The first Test Championship will start soon after the 2019 World Cup and will go on till 2021.
Will the Test Championship include four-day Tests?
No, the ICC has specifically clarified all the Tests in the championship will be played over a five-day period.
How many matches will be played in a series?
The teams will be asked to play at least two matches in a series. It can be extended to a maximum of five Tests. The provision to keep a maximum of five Tests has been made keeping in mind a high-profile series like The Ashes.
With tensions between India and Pakistan preventing the two nations from playing each other in a bilateral series, will we finally see the two teams taking on each other outside of ICC tournaments?
While the finer details are still being worked out by the ICC, Cricbuzz has reliably learnt that the ICC has assured the Pakistan Cricket Board that they’ll play India either inside or outside the leagues.
How’s the schedule going to be made? How will the points be distributed?
The finer details are still being worked out by the ICC.
ICC ODI LEAGUE
What is the ODI League?
In order to give more context to teams playing bilateral ODI series, the ICC has decided to introduce the ODI League. In the league, teams will play eight series – four at home and four away – and will be awarded points for their performance. That will also decide which team earns direct qualification for the World Cups.
When will the ODI League start?
According to ICC, the league will start sometime in 2020 and will decide the teams that earn direct qualification for the 2023 World Cup.
How many teams will play in the ODI League?
A total of 13 teams will be part of the ODI League. 12 Full members – India, Australia, New Zealand, Windies, England, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Zimbabwe, Ireland, Afghanistan will compete against each other and the winner of ICC World Cricket League Championship winner.
Is the ODI League a fresh concept?
No, in women’s cricket, the ICC had already introduced ICC Women’s Championship that decided which teams get direct entry into the World Cup. A total of eight teams play each other at home or away in three-match ODI series and are awarded points for that. In the last championship, that was played from 2014 to 2016, Australia, England, New Zealand and West Indies finished top four and won direct qualification for the 2017 Women’s World Cup in England.
The likes of India, South Africa, Pakistan and Sri Lanka had to battle it out in a qualifying tournament in Sri Lanka against Ireland, Thailand, Bangladesh and Scotland.
What about Associate nations?
Unfortunately, the ODI League makes it pretty difficult for the Associate nations to make it to the World Cup. They’ll have to win the ICC World Cricket League Championship and then compete with Full Members to earn one of the ten spots out of which one will automatically go to the host nation.
How does this structure benefit the viewers?
There will be no dead rubbers once this structure comes into place. All matches will carry points and in the long run may decide the position of the teams on the table. That means more context to each game, something the fans will appreciate. The boards will also hesitate to send second-string squads in low-key series as it may affect their chances.
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