Thursday, 19 October, 2017

South Africa-Zimbabwe four-day Test to go ahead as scheduled

Ireland and Pakistan in a one-day international in Malahide in 2016 Ireland and Pakistan in a one-day international in Malahide in 2016
Kristopher Love | 13 October, 2017, 08:43

The ICC has given the green light to a Test championship and ODI league as well as allowing countries to experiment with four-day Tests.

Nine of the 12 test-approved countries - Zimbabwe, Afghanistan and Ireland will initially be excluded - will play three home and three away series over the two years that count towards the championship.

It will culminate with a final in 2021, with previous reports hinting that match could take place at Lord's, while the one-day worldwide league will get underway in 2021 and determine qualification for the 2023 World Cup.

South Africa will play Zimbabwe in cricket's first four-day test on December 26 and Richardson said that while the concept was still in the trial phase it should help Afghanistan and Ireland, who were granted test status in June, get up to speed faster. Firm moves to establish the championships have taken place over the last two years but have been slow to win the approval of all ICC members.

"Bringing context to bilateral cricket is not a new challenge but this is the first time a genuine solution has been agreed on", ICC chairman Shashank Manohar said.

"Throughout the discussions about the future of test cricket it became clear that whilst context is crucial we must also consider alternatives and trial initiatives that may support the future viability of test cricket", Richardson said.

ICC Chief Executive David Richardson said, "This is a significant point in time for ICC Members and our collective desire to secure a vibrant future for global bilateral cricket".

"Test cricket is the pinnacle of our sport and I know how much this game will mean to not only the players but all involved with Irish cricket".

"This is a significant point in time for ICC members and our collective desire to secure a vibrant future for worldwide bilateral cricket".

At the end of the cycle the top two teams will meet in a World Test League Championship final.

It will provide context and meaning around every test and ODI series as the longest format struggles for relevance, crowds and broadcasting revenue.

"Test matches have witnessed a decline in attendances in recent years, throwing the door open to a number of means to engage fans, including the introduction of day-night Tests". A set of playing conditions for four-day Tests is set to be drawn up by ICC management in coming weeks.