Details of the Test League
- top 9 teams in Division 1, Zimbabwe plus 2 qualifiers (almost certainly Ireland and Afghanistan) in Division 2.
- 2 year cycle in which all teams play the other in their Division (ensures marquee series like the Ashes)
- Only Division 1 teams accumulate points, with a Test final scheduled between the top 2 teams
- series length can range from 1-5 Tests, to be agreed mutually by the boards involved
- possibility of some exposure for Division 2 teams to play Division 1 sides per cycle
- presumably there is promotion/relegation opportunities in all Divisions
The proposal for each format is as follows:
Despite talk of a conference-style structure with 12 teams, the proposals call for a 9-3 league. That is, nine Full Members excluding Zimbabwe will play each other in Test series either home or away once over a two-year period, at the end of which there will be a play-off between the top two teams.
The duration of the series will be up to the members - even a one-off Test can be considered a series. The system of how points will be awarded, given that each series will not be of the same length, is yet to be worked out. The home and away stipulation is such that, if, for example, New Zealand tours Sri Lanka in the first two-year league cycle, then in the following one Sri Lanka will tour New Zealand. If one team refuses to play another - as has been the case with India playing Pakistan - they will forfeit points. Full Members will retain the power to schedule bilateral series should they wish outside of this league structure.
The details of how the bottom three teams operate within this league are still to be fully worked out. They will play against each other in what will be Test matches, but essentially outside of the league structure and with no points at stake. Administrators, however, are also working out a way for the nine Full Members play a series against at least one of the three in each cycle, to provide them with exposure and the opportunity to improve.
Part of the reason this is not yet finalised is because it is linked to the question of membership status for Associate sides, which is on the agenda of the ICC Board meeting on Saturday. There is talk of decoupling Test status from Full Membership, so that a side - such as Afghanistan or Ireland - can play Tests without being Full Members.
At the end of a four-year period - of two cycles - the performances of these three teams will be assessed and it is here, presumably, where the Test ambitions of other Associate sides come into play. Performances there will be part of a criteria for Test status; another criterion is for countries to have a domestic first-class competition. Ireland's domestic competition was approved last year; Afghanistan's came up at the CEC meeting and it is believed it will also be granted first-class status.
Kriterion_BD wrote:Also the latest cricinfo article suggested the boards seem to agree on using Zim, Ire, and Afg as tour matches for SA, ENG, PAK tours respectively. So a one off 5 day Test would replace the traditional 3 day first class match vs a domestic or A team. Thats 2 Tests per year, or 4 per cycle for the lower division sides.
brmtaylor.com admin wrote:Bangladesh are the big winners of the new model, followed by Ireland and Afghanistan (because from their perspective Test status in any form is better than no Test status at all).
Zimbabwe is the only loser.
The only silver lining that I can see is it might result in more ODI cricket, but I don't think that's much consolation for the prospect of never playing another Test match again against anyone besides a fake team (Ire/Afg).
Kriterion_BD wrote:BRMT, Zim fans are stuck in a quandry. Obviously any fan wants international status...before 2010, BD fans vehemtly denied that we were not a worthy Test side...even though we now realize that was true. At the same time, that very status is what keeps ZC alive to loot, steal, pilfer, and embezzle.
My assumption is that ZC will finally be put on notice. I predict 4 years for Zim ending in 2023. If Zim falls significantly behind Ireland and Afghanistan by that time in both formats, there seems little hope of continual ICC support.
It took 10 years for the ICC to recognize Ireland and afghanistan (OK a little less perhaps)...it will take 20 in the case of Zim. Which I think is fair. 2004 to 2023...thats enough grace for Zimbabwe to fix their problems given Afghanistan went from WCL Division 5 in 2009 to Test status by 2017 (officially 2019). Granted AFG are an outlier.
Apparently the ICC chief executives board has approved this plan, yet its still not finalized till April or June. It can always change from 9-3...
But yes, Bangladesh are the biggest winners, other top 8 countries don't have a net change, Ireland and Afghanistan also gain big, with Zim the only one losing out. Every other proposal had 2+ countries suffering a net loss.
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