ICC news June 18, 2016

ICC draws up proposals for major ODI revamp

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Afghanistan would be one country to benefit from a 13-team ODI league © AFP

The ICC is pushing for the creation of a new ODI league for the world's top 13 countries to give 50-over cricket new context and relevance.

Plans are well-advanced to create a new league from 2019 for 13 nations - believed to be the ten Test teams, Afghanistan, Ireland and one other Associate, with Nepal advocated by some as a favoured option in a debate that still has some way to run.

The league will see all countries play each other over three years, with the top two nations playing a play-off series to determine the overall winner of the league.

It is hoped that the proposals will give ODI cricket a new context and sense of purpose, amid fears that the format fits awkwardly between Test and Twenty20 cricket, insufficiently loved either by traditionalists or newer fans.

Under the plans, each team would play a three-match series either home or away against every other country, amounting to 36 ODIs each over a three-year basis. The fourth year of each cycle would be reserved for World Cup preparation.

It is envisaged that the ODI league would progress towards a play-off series, likely to be either three matches or five, to determine the overall winner, giving bilateral ODI cricket a global showpiece it has previously lacked.

The system, if adopted, would also be used to determine automatic qualification, and seedings, for the World Cup. The side finishing bottom after three years would face relegation to the World Cricket League Championship, the second tier of one-day cricket, possibly after a play-off with the winners of the World Cricket League Championship.

As with the proposed reforms to Test cricket, the structure is intended as a minimum schedule for each country, and they would be free to organise extra ODIs, which would not count towards the league.

The most obvious beneficiaries of the schedule would be Afghanistan and Ireland, who would have a guaranteed set of fixtures to develop their teams and have a more attractive set of matches to sell sponsors. While both have enjoyed an upturn in fixtures since their inclusion on the 12-team ODI rankings table, the proposed new ODI league would bolster this further.

The identity of the 13th team is likely to be altogether more controversial. The ICC are known to be impressed by the game's popularity in Nepal, and are considering promoting Nepal regardless of their overall standing in the 2015-17 edition of the World Cricket League Championship, although this is just one option.

Yet, if Nepal were elevated, in defiance of their position on the World Cricket League Championship table, which Netherlands currently lead, the ICC would leave themselves open to undermining the integrity of their own structures.

The creation of a 13-team league, with promotion, is a crucial part of the ICC's strategy to increase the number of competitive international teams and ensure they can rise on merit. Conversely, struggling teams will face relegation with, it is hoped, no exceptions for the ten nations with Full Member status.

This might affect Zimbabwe, whose recent 3-0 defeat at home to an understrength India side was one of the most one-sided ODI series in the history of the game - even allowing for their shock defeat of India in a T20I in Harare on Saturday.

The proposals are designed to provide ODI cricket with new relevance, which the format lacks outside the World Cup. It is also believed that the new structure would lead to the fixtures generating more broadcasting revenue, in the belief that fans would be more enticed by the notion of a league culminating in an easily understood winner.

As with the favoured two-divisional structure in Test cricket, concerns about the dwindling commercial value of bilateral cricket, and a belief that the new structure would lead to greater revenue, underpin the proposals.

The plans for ODI and Test cricket will be discussed at the ICC annual conference, which begins in Edinburgh at the end of the month.

While they might be agreed upon there, voting on the proposals could wait until the ICC board meeting in October, because the reforms are partly dependent upon changes in the ICC revenue model. However, it is understood that the decision to bring the World T20 back to every two years is likely to be ratified in Edinburgh.

Tim Wigmore is a freelance journalist and author of Second XI: Cricket in its Outposts

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • deepkiran2004 on July 9, 2016, 3:01 GMT

    Well, this is a good news for Nepal, Ireland and Afghanistan but there are some teams who may be powerful than these like Netherlands, Scotland, Hong Kong etc. Nepal, Ireland, Afghanistan along with Netherlands, Scotland, Hong Kong also should get these kind of offers because they are the powerful side of Associate cricket. Yes, some team had bad performance past few months but in game there are win and lose. These teams are likely to get offer and before, ICC said about Test Championship among Associate teams. So, these all teams must get...

  •   cricfan37211415 on June 22, 2016, 16:56 GMT

    ICC decision to let Nepal as 13th team is good for professional cricket and what icc aims to make worldwide popular.Nepal playing in cricket from 2000 in all level U16,U19 and women team as well as senior team is playing well enough and showed brilliant performance inT20world cup in2014.The future of team from status of ODI and poularity must be always heard if ICC is let any team from associate country otherwise it will vain because other associate doesn't have there own native player in country presently and how will be future..if such team like netherlands ,scotland ,UAE.are given play will result as Kenya ,Zim.The ranking of Nepal the team may be less or more in one or two matched played but cricket should be judged in playing future potential of national team like Nepal in all level because of huge support and ethucisiam .Nepal has been already got brilliant performance since 2000.Future growthof cricket of Nepal is better than other associate which cant be overlooked.@dhirendra

  • Bulls.eye1902 on June 21, 2016, 12:21 GMT

    Teams like the Netherlands, PNG, Namibia and Scotland should also be considered for the spots along with Nepal, Afghanistan and Ireland as all these teams rely heavily on local talent instead of expats from other countries. For the 11th, 12th and 13th spot there should be a qualifying tournament should be organized in UAE or Sri Lanka where teams like the Netherlands, Afghanistan, Ireland, Scotland, Namibia, Nepal and PNG should play against each other and top three gets ODI league qualification and the other four will return to play world cricket league with top four teams from division 2 to create a new pool of 8 teams as division 1. After every three years the bottom three of ODI league should play with top four of division 1 teams of WCL to determine the 11,12 and 13th position for ODI league. This way every associate and affiliate team would have some incentive to improve their performances, as better rankings would mean greater share of funding to develop cricket.

  •   Ghalib Imtiyaz on June 20, 2016, 23:33 GMT

    Scotland and Netherlands are better teams in my opinion. Nepal and UAE or Oman can compete with these two teams for the coveted 13th spot. No should be given a free handout.

  • indianzen on June 20, 2016, 21:29 GMT

    Also cleanup by removing teams low performing like Zimbabwe, UAE, etc. There are improved teams like BD, Nepal, Afganistan etc. who are impressively performing.

  • MANEESHROYwinner on June 20, 2016, 16:54 GMT

    Continuing my previous comment. Fifth, more and more international tournaments should be played where more than two teams participate like Australasia Cup, Champions Trophy etc. . Format of 1992 World Cup was best because there was no group and every team had to play against rest of the teams. This format should be spread further, there should be a tournament every year where twelve or thirteen Cricket playing nations play against each other in non-group format. Three year long league is a bit too much.

  • MANEESHROYwinner on June 20, 2016, 16:50 GMT

    International Cricket Council should first improve the rules, regulations of Cricket. First, there should be uniformity in dimension of ground in every country. Every Olympic sport has definite dimension of the area where it is played, definite dimension of ground in Cricket helps batsmen to avoid un-certainity about shot. Second, no. of overs should be reduced from 50 overs to 40 overs in one-day internationals. I agree with someone saying, that, 50 overs is too long and 20 overs is too short for international match. Third, quality of pitch, there should be regulation as to what minimum height the ball should bounce on beginning of every day of test match. This bounce check should be done before match start on every day by a bowling machine. This bounce check will put an end to "slow and low" Asian pitches. Fourth, Super Soppers, every Cricket ground should have minimum of five Super Soppers, two for inner circle and three for rest of the ground. This will reduce delay due to rains.

  • 2nd_Slip on June 20, 2016, 16:40 GMT

    Good idea, but first things first, do away with the Champions trophy. It is a useless tournament. And with the next WC set to have fewer teams it is basically having the 50 over WC every two years add to that we already have the T20 WC every two years. Overkill that has also contributed to the decline of the number of fans attending test matches and those attending 50 over matches(as can be seen ongoing Tri Series between WI,SA and Aus).

  • DaveOTasmania on June 20, 2016, 11:57 GMT

    I agree with the people who say that the rankings at the end of a world cup period should determine who gets where. The second tier teams can play eachother and occasionally a top tier team to gain advancement.

  • baggygreenmania on June 20, 2016, 11:28 GMT

    @Rajan. I agree Nepal should be the side. They have a huge following in their country. I watched their U19 side acquit themselves very well at the 2012 World Cup in Northern Australia. They have some excellent young players. Yes most of the European and Chinese Asian sides, are chock full of overseas born players, mostly from the sub continent. This is not fully representative of that country. What is needed are far more home grown players.

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