ICC to green light World Test championship this week


MUMBAI: The International Cricket Council (ICC) is most likely to approve plans for its long-awaited World Test Championship at a meeting in New Zealand this week, to boost the five-day format’s popularity.

The Sydney Morning Herald reported on Monday that plans for a nine-nation Test championship were now well advanced and the ICC would give the concept the final nod on Friday. The first edition of the competition would run over a two-year cycle beginning 2019, culminating in a final between the top two teams at Lord’s.

Cricket Australia chief executive James Sutherland told the Herald that the league competition would give Test series a broader international “context”, making them more than stand-alone bilateral contests. “You’re also creating structure in such a way that you no longer have games without meaning. They are all part of a league championship,” he told the Herald.

The newspaper added that the ICC will also look at a major shake-up of one-day international fixtures. A 13-nation ODI league is being considered, which would operate on a three-year cycle with results affecting World Cup qualification. The number of ODIs in a series would be capped at three, ending the lengthy five-match series that are currently part of the international fixture list.

The ICC has been toying with innovations to make test cricket a more interesting proposition to audiences globally. A recent innovation designed to reverse the trend is the introduction of day-night Test matches, which moves playing sessions to more spectator-friendly hours. The idea of four-day Test matches has also been floated, although traditionalists oppose the move.