The International Cricket Council on Wednesday released the men’s Future Tours Programme (FTP) from July 15, 2019, to April 30, 2021.
In the World Test Championship, India is opening against the Windies in the Caribbean in July 2019, while they will be against Sri Lanka in the first ODI series in the league in June 2020. Last year, ICC had approved a Test league consisting of top 9 teams in ICC rankings, playing each other over a two year period. Six series will be played by each team which will culminate with the top 2 playing in the Test championship final — which is likely to be held in Lord’s.
The ICC said in a statement that, “Nine top-ranked sides will participate in the inaugural edition of the World Test Championship, which will run from 15 July 2019 to 30 April 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 two top-ranked sides will then progress to the June 2021 final to decide the World Test champions,”.
In addition, the 12 Test playing nations and the Netherlands, will participate in the 13-team ODI League, which will run from 1 May 2020 to 31 March 2022 and all the sides will play eight series over a two-year cycle on a home and away basis against mutually agreed opponents.
The ICC also confirmed that not every series will fall under the purview of World Test Championship or the ODI league. The international cricket body insisted that Ashes 2019 and 2021-22 will have its own separate identity.
In a talk with the ICC Chief Executive David Richardson, he said, “The agreement of this FTP means we have clarity, certainty and most importantly context around bilateral cricket over the next five years. The World Test Championship will get underway next year with the ODI league kicking off in 2020 as part of the qualification towards the ICC Cricket World Cup 2023,”.
“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,” he added.
According to the new FTP, the teams which acquired Test status recently that are Afghanistan and Ireland, won’t be a part of the Test Championship. Afghanistan is slated to play a five-day match against Australia in 2020. While their Trans-Tasman rival New Zealand will travel to Sri Lanka before hosting England, Australia, and India.