It is evident that ICC, the governing body of International Cricket, has been in the mission of giving a rebirth to the traditional cricket format of ODI and Test, thanks to the hasty towering of T2o globally. They have been discussing and planning more often for the complete change in the scheduling of both ODI and Test Matches in a league format. The idea of having ODI and Test Leagues must be a great news for Cricket as it will provide meaning to every match that each team will play, ending the meaningless bilateral series scheme.
For instance, take India’s current meaningless tour of Sri Lanka, in which the results are never going to make any impact, except few changes in rankings and player stats. Moreover, people will forget about these results in a very shorter time.
The League format will provide a reason for an Indian fan to watch the matches, involving two non-Indian teams, which could impact India’s standings accordingly. This must be a great news for cricket and cricket fans at least.
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Now, in the recent meeting held in London, ICC came up with a proposal called option C, in which every 9 test teams will play other nations randomly, resulting the top nine Test playing nations feature in 12 Test series over four years on a home-and-away basis. The other 3 Test playing nations including the newly entered Ireland and Afghanistan will not be any part of the league. But they will be open to playing among themselves and any other top teams provided any spaces in the window.
The new Test League is likely to start immediately after the 2019 World Cup and will run till the beginning of the 2023 World Cup. It will conclude with a playoff between the top two teams at the end of the cycle.
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Same goes for ODI too. ICC has come up with a proposal of a league consisting top 13 teams playing on home and away basis. The 13-team ODI league for World Cup qualifying will be condensed into two years instead of three. That would mean each team will only play eight opponents instead of all 12.
This could be because, of course, India and Pakistan, will have no series planned for either league. The BCCI has made it clear to the PCB that they cannot play a bilateral series even on neutral territory.
For the purposes of working out points, the ICC has capped bilateral series to three matches. Teams can play over and above that if they wish, but no points would be considered from those fixtures.
Nothing is confirmed yet, as Option C now awaits ratification by the ICC Board which meets on Friday. With the option C approved, this could be a major turnover in the way, how cricket is played. And it will give rebirth to the traditional elders, the Test, and ODI.
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