Test Championship to replace Champions Trophy
The Champions Trophy is now officially history with the ICC confirming a World Test Championship from 2017 onwards in line with its goal of having one pinnacle tournament for each of the three formats over a four-year period. This also means that the men's World Twenty20 will be held once every four years starting 2016 instead of the current two-year interval.
The women's event will remain a biennial affair, played with the men's event in 2016 and 2020 and as a standalone tournament in the West Indies and South Africa in 2018 and 2022. The women's 2014 tournament has been expanded to ten teams, with the top three teams from the qualifiers to join the current seven.
In another decision taken to "ensure an optimum balance between the three formats of the game", teams will now have to play a minimum of 16 Tests in each four-year cycle with the ICC board accepting the recommendation of its cricket committee. There have been a number of recent examples of Test series being postponed due to conflicting demands, either from one-day cricket or the proliferation of Twenty20 leagues. Countries might still be able to give preference to limited-overs cricket, though, with the requirement being set as low as 16 Tests.
The success of the recent edition of the Champions Trophy had given rise to talk that the tournament might live on after all but the ICC has stuck to its stated intent of moving on. "The ICC Champions Trophy in England and Wales was highly acclaimed and appreciated by all," David Richardson, the ICC chief executive, said. "However, the principle of one pinnacle global event for each of the three formats over a four-year cycle is a good one and, as such, the ICC Board has agreed to replace the Champions Trophy with the ICC World Test Championship. Now that the ICC World Test Championship has been confirmed, we'll work on the playing conditions and qualification criteria, and will submit these to the ICC Board for approval in due course."
England and India were announced as venues for the first two editions of the World Test Championship in June-July 2017 and February-March 2021 as also for the 2019 and 2023 World Cups respectively. India will also host the 2016 World Twenty20 with the 2020 one going to Australia.