Test, ODI cricket set for overhaul
Meeting of ICC's chief executives committee could trigger formation of leagues for Test and ODI cricket
4 February 2017, 07:17 AM AEST
The structure of Test and one-day international cricket appears set for a radical overhaul after consensus on the future was reached at a high-level meeting.
Proposals agreed by the International Cricket Council's chief executives committee will pave the way for a Test league to be run over each two-year period, and a 13-team ODI format to be introduced by 2019.
There will be no confirmation of plans set to be put forward to the ICC board until, at the earliest, the next meeting of the governing body's top brass in April.
However, indications are - after day two of three in the current round of talks in Dubai - that there is agreement between administrators from member nations as to the best way forward for all Test-playing countries.
Full details of the proposals are yet to emerge, but the likelihood is that the top nine Test-playing countries will be joined by Zimbabwe and two others.
That will be heartening information for Ireland and Afghanistan, who have long had their eyes on a Test as well as ODI and Twenty20 future.
It remains to be seen if there will be any implications for the staging of so-called 'icon' series such as the Ashes or several of those involving India.
ICC spokesmen have been at pains throughout, however, to confirm the status of such historic rivalries will remain protected and undiminished.
The ODI structure is expected to involve a bigger pool of 13 competing nations, in a league format over each three years and involving mechanism for World Cup qualification.
It follows several months of suggestions and consultations to try to identify the most advantageous method of reorganisation for Test cricket especially - in which competition has existed on a bilateral basis for almost 140 years without significant change.
ICC chief executive Dave Richardson made it clear, on a visit to Lord's during last summer's Test against Pakistan, that in his opinion evolution was nigh.
"Doing nothing is not an option any more," Richardson said in July.