The top nine sides according to the rankings will participate in the inaugural edition of the World Test Championship. © BCCI

The top nine sides according to the rankings will participate in the inaugural edition of the World Test Championship. © BCCI

The International Cricket Council on Wednesday (June 20) released the Future Tours Programme for the period between 2018 and 2023, consisting of the World Test Championship and the One-Day International Qualification League for the World Cup 2023.

The top nine sides according to the rankings will participate in the inaugural edition of the World Test Championship, which will run from July 15, 2019 to April 30, 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 top two sides will then play the final in June 2021 to decide the World Test champion.

In addition, the 12 Test playing nations and Netherlands will participate in the 13-team ODI League, which will run from May 1, 2020 to March 21, 2022. All the sides will play eight series over a two-year cycle on a home and away basis against mutually agreed opponents.

The league will serve as a qualification pathway for the World Cup 2023. India, the hosts, plus the seven highest-ranked sides in the league as on March 31, 2022 will qualify directly for World Cup, while the bottom five sides will get a second chance to qualify.

India’s opening series in the World Test Championship is against Windies in the Caribbean in July 2019, while their first ODI series in the league is against Sri Lanka in Sri Lanka in June 2020.

David Richardson, the ICC Chief Executive, congratulated the members for their efforts in the preparation of the FTP, saying, “The agreement of this FTP means we have clarity, certainty and most importantly context around bilateral cricket over the next five years.

“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.”

The FTP includes the World Cup 2019 and 2023, World T20 2020 and 2021, two cycles of World Test Championship (2019-2021 and 2021-2023) and other bilateral Tests, ODIs and T20Is outside of the above competitions.

As per the ICC, the following principles were kept in mind while creating the FTP.

  • Scheduling the appropriate amount of cricket in each format (home and away) for each Member.
  • Matches scheduled at the preferred time of year in each territory;
  • Inclusion of existing series that have already been committed to commercial partners (mainly in 2019-20).
  • Providing optimum preparation for ICC Events by playing the same format immediately before the tournament.
  • Sufficient time for Members to schedule their preferred bilateral content outside of World Test Championship and ODI league.
  • Periods when individual Boards want to allow their national team players to be available to compete in domestic T20 leagues.

The ICC have already approved an additional World T20 in 2021 place of the Champions Trophy as well as giving Twenty20 International status to all 104 Members.