New Delhi: The International Cricket Council (ICC) has announced the Future Tours Programme (FTP) for the much-talked about World Test Championship, that is scheduled to be played between 2019 and 2021, on Wednesday.
India’s opening series in the World Test Championship is against the Windies in the Caribbean in July 2019, while their first ODI series in the league is against Sri Lanka in June 2020.
Last year, the ICC approved a Test league comprising of top 9 teams in ICC rankings, playing each other over a two year period. Each team will play six series which will culminate with the top 2 playing in the Test championship final — which is likely to be held in Lord's.
"Nine top-ranked sides will participate in the inaugural edition of the World Test Championship, which will run from 15 July 2019 to 30 April 2021. The sides will play six series in the two-year cycle on a home and away basis against opponents they have mutually selected. The two top-ranked sides will then progress to the June 2021 final to decide the World Test champions," the ICC said in a statement.
The 13-team ODI league will comprise of 12 Test playing nations and the winner of World Cricket League Championship — Netherlands. Every series in the said ODI league will comprise of just three matches and it will be held from 2020 to 2022.
The ICC also confirmed that not every series will fall under the purview of World Test Championship or the ODI league. The international cricket body insisted that Ashes 2019 and 2021-22 will have its own separate identity.
The ODI League will be suspended a year before the World Cup which means that a series can have more than three ODIs during this period. The top eight teams in this ODI league will get direct entry into the showpiece event while World Cup qualifiers will decide the fate of other teams.
"The agreement of this FTP means we have clarity, certainty and most importantly context around bilateral cricket over the next five years. The World Test Championship will get underway next year with the ODI league kicking off in 2020 as part of the qualification towards the ICC Cricket World Cup 2023," ICC Chief Executive David Richardson was quoted as saying in the release.
"Bringing context to bilateral cricket is not a new challenge, but with the release of this FTP, our Members have found a genuine solution that gives fans around the world the chance to engage regularly with international cricket that has meaning and the possibility of a global title at the end," he added.
According to the new FTP, Afghanistan and Ireland — the teams which acquired Test status recently — won't be a part of the Test Championship. Afghanistan is slated to play a five-day match against Australia in 2020. While their Trans-Tasman rival New Zealand will travel to Sri Lanka before hosting England, Australia and India.