The schedule for the inaugural World Test Championship has been revealed.
The tournament,which aims to give more context to bilateral Test cricket, will be played from July 15, 2019 to April 30, 2021.
The nine top-ranked sides in the world will compete in the tournament, with each side playing six series on a home-and-away basis against “mutually selected opponents” within the two-year cycle.
The top two sides will then play the first ever World Test Championship final in June 2021.
The Championship will begin with the 2019 Ashes series in England, while India host West Indies and New Zealand host Sri Lanka.
ICC chief exec David Richardson said: “The agreement of this FTP means we have clarity, certainty, and most importantly context around bilateral cricket over the next five years,” he said. “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.”
ECU chief exec Tom Harrison said: “As strong supporters of Test cricket, we particularly welcome the creation of the new World Test Championship. It is a big step in the right direction and will help ensure Test cricket is more sustainable and competitive in the long-term – and help secure its unique place at the pinnacle of our international game.”