ICC gives green light to test championship, ODI league

Ireland to play their first Test in May

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. ICC CEO, David Richardson also stated, "Our priority was to develop an global cricket structure that gave context and meaning across worldwide cricket and particularly in the Test arena".

In the Test series league, nine teams will be playing three home and three away series each, with each series comprising of a minimum of two tests and a maximum of five tests, culminating in a World Test League Championship Final.

While all Test championship matches will be played over five days, the ICC Board also approved the trial of four-day Tests in bilateral series up until 2019, following South Africa's request to play a match over that distance against Zimbabwe during their forthcoming home season.

How does the ODI league work?

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In other decisions taken, Zimbabwe was confirmed as the host for the ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifier and the tournament will be played in March next year. It will be contested by the 12 full members plus the winners of the current ICC World Cricket League Championship. The ODI league will first have a two-year cycle ahead of the 2023 World Cup.

The qualifiers will be a 10-team event with the top two sides getting entry into the tournament proper to be held in the United Kingdom in 2019.

Bangladesh were initially scheduled to host the event but Asian side have qualified directly to the tournament proper due to their world ranking.

Richardson said countries were welcome to experiment with four-day test matches but they would not count towards the championship. "The trial is exactly that, a trial, just in the same way day-night Tests and technology have been trialled by members", he adds.

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