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 Test matches in new proposals accepted by the International Cricket Council at its board meeting in Auckland, New Zealand. The ICC has also given the green light to a 13-team one-day international league which will begin in 2020 and lead to direct qualification to the Cricket 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 ODI 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 of three matches.
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 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.
ICC chief executive David Richardson said: “Four-day Tests provide the new Test playing countries more opportunities to play the longer version of the game against more experienced opponents.”