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13 October 2017, 08:42 | Charlene Valdez
The International Cricket Council will meet in Auckland this week, where announcements on separate league structures for Tests and 50-over cricket are expected to be made.
The Test championship will consist of nine countries and will begin after the 2019 World Cup, followed by the two-top teams playing each other in a championship final in 2021.
The first ODI league, featuring the game's top 13 limited-overs nations, will commence in 2020-21, running for two years leading into the 2023 World Cup, before converting to a three-year league in each cycle beyond that.
Apart from the above advantage, it is also believed that Test may well be a four-day affair instead of the traditional five-day Test match.
Ireland and Afghanistan were given test status in June when they became the 11th and 12th full members of the ICC.
"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.
ICC said in a media release on Tuesday that Pakistan will play a "red ball" match against Ireland in April before their two-Test tour of England in 2018.
Cricket Ireland chief executive Warren Deutrom recently admitted the Test newcomers would be open to the concept, with Ireland having excelled in four-day games in the rung below Test cricket, the ICC's Intercontinental Cup.
A test championship has always been mooted as a means to make the longest form of the game more relevant for fans who have increasingly turned towards limited-overs matches. Each series is tipped to be worth 100 league points, 60 awarded to the series victor and 40 distributed on the basis of results in individual matches.
"The ICC Board decision means we can now go and finalise a playing schedule.as well as the points system, hosting arrangements and competition terms".
However, Irish was concerned that countries trialing four-day Tests on a random basis may lead to confusion and uncertainty around the format.
"The trial is exactly that, a trial, just in the same way day-night tests and technology have been trialled".
"Four-day tests will also provide the new test-playing countries with more opportunities to play in the longer version of the game against more experienced opponents which, in turn, will help them to hone their skills and close the gap with the nine ranked teams".
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