Zimbabwe to host 2019 Cricket world qualifier

Aubrey Yates
October 14, 2017

The nine nations comprising the Test league will be Australia, Bangladesh, England, India, New Zealand, Pakistan, South Africa, Sri Lanka, and West Indies.

The move is created to provide global Test cricket with greater context as it combats the effects of a growing number of Twenty20 tournaments.

"This means fans around the world can enjoy worldwide cricket knowing every game counts and in the case of the ODI league, it counts towards qualification to the ICC Cricket World Cup". The results would not be part of the new Test championship.

And there were renewed calls for such a two-tier system following the Windies meek capitulation at Birmingham by an innings inside three days in the opening Test of the three-match series against England last August.

But if an Ashes series is five matches, which ones count? On the other hand, the ICC has decided that nine Test playing nations will be playing three series at home and away against each other. "We will have to see exactly how the points will work but I think it's a challenge to run a genuine league when some countries will be playing significantly more matches than other countries in the same league table".

This is yet to be worked out. Each series is tipped to be worth 100 league points, 60 awarded to the series victor and 40 distributed on the basis of results in individual matches.

Of the 162 Tests played since January 2014, 112 got over in under 400 overs.

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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".

Despite two new countries coming into the fold a mere four months ago, skeptics, including the broadcasters, continue to question the health of Test format.

England, for example, will begin their eighth series since January 1, 2016 when they walk out at the Gabba on November 23. One of the things we will be doing is thinking carefully about where we might put more emphasis on one-day cricket say leading into World Cups or the Champions Trophy.

How will the winners be decided?

At the end of the cycle the top two teams will meet in a World Test League Championship Final. The ICC have already sent an inspection team to Zimbabwe to ascertain the suitability of the venues.

Those with good memories will recall that Lord's was due to be the venue for the final in 2013, only for the previous Test Championship framework to collapse.

While Irish was broadly supportive of the concept of an ODI league, which will act as a qualification pathway for the World Cup, he was more sceptical about the Test championship structure and the ICC's decision to experiment with four-day Tests. These matches are likely to involve the three Test countries not in the inaugural league - Ireland, Afghanistan and Zimbabwe.

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