ICC approves Test world championship and trial of four-day matches

4 day test
A full Lord’s this summer: England will host the Test championship play-off final in 2021. Photograph: Matthew Impey/Rex/Shutterstock

Nine-team two-year championship to begin in 2019 with 2021 final in England
Four-day Test trial agreed but all championship matches to have five days

England are to take part in a Test world championship after the sport’s governing body gave the go-ahead to a nine-team two-year series to begin in 2019.

Joe Root’s side could also be involved in four-day Tests in proposals accepted by the International Cricket Council at its board meeting in Auckland, New Zealand.

The ICC has also approved a 13-team one-day international league, which will begin in 2020 and lead to direct qualification to the World Cup.

Nine teams will play six series over the new two-year Test championship – three each home and away – with each series having a minimum of two Tests and a maximum of five. The top two teams will contest a play-off final to determine the Test champions in England in June 2021.

For the one-day international league the ICC’s 12 full members and the winners of the current World Cricket League Championship will contest four home and four away series, each comprising three matches.

The ICC chairman, Shashank Manohar, said: “I would like to congratulate our members on reaching this agreement and putting the interests of the development of the game first. Bringing context to bilateral cricket is not a new challenge, but this is the first time a genuine solution has been agreed on.

“This means fans around the world can enjoy international cricket knowing every game counts, and in the case of the ODI league it counts towards qualification to the ICC Cricket World Cup.”

The ICC also approved the trial of four-day Tests if both sides agree but all Test championship matches will be five-day contests.

David Richardson, the ICC chief executive, said: “Four-day Tests will also provide the new Test-playing countries with more opportunities to play the longer version of the game against more experienced opponents, which, in turn, will help them to hone their skills and close the gap with the top nine ranked teams.”

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