Yes, we are. The finish to the World Test Championship, not just [from] a fan interest point of view, but even the players were engaged, [wondering] are we not qualifying or what do we have to do to qualify. That's the sort of result we were after when the World Test Championship was created.
This [second WTC] cycle [2021-23] is locked in and it's the same format - nine teams and six series [each, over that period]. The fixtures were finalised in 2018. We are now looking at the cricket calendar beyond 2023 and the structure of the World Test Championship. We've got other Test-playing countries who are keen to be involved, but on the other hand, the number of series you can fit in a two-year period is probably not going to increase.
We had that discussion back in in 2016 or 2017. And it [the two-tier model] didn't have support then. The most important thing is that we provide a pathway for all the Test teams. There's nine in the Test Championship at the moment, and there's three more who want their Test matches to have context. How that translates into competition structures is something we're still working through.
"In our preliminary discussions with the Full Members about the FTP beyond 2023, there was universal acceptance that the World Test Championship should continue"
There's a couple of issues. One is that the volume of Test matches per year that's needed to be part of the World Test Championship in its current structure is six Test matches [per year], home or away. Up until now none of those three countries are playing that volume of Test cricket. So how do you get them up to a point where they are playing that volume and [have] the potential to be involved in a league in the future? They are obviously playing among themselves: Zimbabwe and Afghanistan played two Test matches recently in Abu Dhabi. You've got Zimbabwe having just played Pakistan [at home] as well. They have also got finite resources.
The recent decisions to expand the ODI and T20 World Cups for men and women is likely to see the focus being on developing more competitive Associate member teams in those two formats rather than the four-day format.
The beauty of bilateral cricket is that it's designed to satisfy the desires of cricket fans in each country. Generally, they want to watch their national team playing. Probably all of us are seduced by cricket when you are watching your heroes play, and your heroes are generally your national team players. That would be missing if you were to play the World Test Championship at neutral venues. That's why having the same number of series home and way is important. I don't think that the opportunity to play in front of home crowds is something the members would consider giving up.
One of the things we have always looked at over the years is, we don't try to standardise pitches in each country, and we don't dictate which balls members use for their conditions. When we were considering the arrangements for the final, the decision was that we would use the ball used for Test cricket in the country hosting the final. Once the final was in the UK, it was going to be a Dukes ball regardless of who was playing.
The next cycle of the WTC, starting with England vs India in August, will see a change to the points system. Instead of each series being worth the same number of points, 120, irrespective of whether the series is played over two Tests or five Tests, the next cycle will see each match being worth the same number of points - a maximum of 12 per match. Teams will be ranked on the percentage of available points they won from the matches they have played. The aim was to try and simplify the points system and to allow teams to be meaningfully compared on the table at any point, though they may have played differing numbers of matches and series.
That's been one of the discussions over the last few months. Do you structure the events to grow the sport and provide opportunity for your member countries to compete in the flagship tournaments? Or are they primarily an opportunity to drive finances? They are always going to be both, but the view of our members - and it was quite a strong view across both the Chief Executives Committee and the [ICC] board - was that we were looking to expand our ODI World Cup and the T20 World Cup as well.
"Realistically, six series is going to be the number a team will play over the two-year WTC cycle"
It provides a high-quality event in the ODI format at a time when there's a lot of T20 cricket. The only reason it was discontinued between 2019 and 2023 was to create the opportunity for a T20 World Cup every two years. We had a very successful Champions Trophy in 2017 from all measures - whether it was on-field, attendance, ratings.
Like the Test championship, the ODI Super League is one of those points of discussion with the members around the next FTP. The ODI Super League was about to start pretty much at the time that Covid struck and it's been significantly disrupted. As we push towards the  ODI World Cup and series start happening on a more frequent basis, the context around those matches will be important. Eight teams out of 13 are qualifying for a ten-team World Cup in India in 2023. What it looks like qualifying for a 14-team World Cup in 2027 still needs to be decided.
The hosts' [selection] process is now underway. The most important part was finalising the calendar of events and the time of year in which those events would be played. What we have asked for is a preliminary technical submission. Which events is a particular member interested in hosting? Do they plan on hosting it on their own? Are they planning on hosting it in combination with another member country? Which venues are they proposing to use?
Yeah. The process has started for the eight senior men's events. For women's events, Under-19s, Test championship finals, the process will kick off later in the year.
Each interested country will be invited to put in a submission. In terms of bidding, if you're saying, putting together the best proposal or the best submission, then yes, absolutely [there is bidding]. If you're implying it's just whoever gives the most money, that will not be the case. That's not dissimilar to what happened in 2006, when potential hosts for the cycle from 2007 to 2015 needed to put in submissions.
Nagraj Gollapudi is news editor at ESPNcricinfo