International Cricket

All you need to know about ICC’s plans for Test, ODI leagues and what it means for India

With each team playing the other in a league format, there is a possibility that the India-Pakistan ties could put a spanner in the works.

The International Cricket Council on Friday unveiled a long-awaited, nine-nation Test championship Friday in a bid to preserve the five-day format’s status following the rapid growth of Twenty20.

The Test league was among a raft of reforms agreed at an ICC board meeting in Auckland, including revamping the one-day international schedule and trialling four-day Tests.

While still in its nascent stage, the ICC has clarified broad points pertaining to the both leagues.

Salient features

  • The Test league will start in 2019 and see nine teams play six series over two years –- three home and three away. It will culminate in a final between the two top teams at Lord’s. 
  • The nine nations in the competition are Australia, Bangladesh, England, India, New Zealand, Pakistan, South Africa, Sri Lanka, and West Indies.
  • The league will function on a points system, with a full week-by-week tours programme that is yet to be finalised by the international cricket body.
  • The ICC will also establish a 13-nation one-day international league starting in 2020, with results counting towards 2023 World Cup qualification. 
  • Each side will play four home and four away series each comprising of three ODIs moving to all teams playing each other from the second cycle onwards. (This also signals the end of bilateral ODI series longer than three ODIs.)

Reasoning behind the move

  • The ICC has argued for years that a Test championship is needed to boost the format’s popularity as crowds and TV viewers flock to the fast-paced, big-hitting Twenty20 version of the game. 
  • They said the league structure would give added context to Test and ODI fixtures, rather than the current system of bilateral series which have little bearing on other teams. 

Other steps ICC has taken to revive Test cricket’s popularity

  • A recent innovation designed to reverse the trend is the introduction of day-night Test matches, which moves playing sessions to more spectator-friendly hours after dark. 
  • The Auckland meeting also agreed to experiment with four-day Tests, with South Africa and Zimbabwe set to trial the first in December.
  • ICC chief executive Dave Richardson emphasised that the shorter Test matches were only being trialled and their results would not be part of the new Test championship. 

Third time lucky

  • ICC had first appointed a committee to examine the concept back in 1998. But squabbling over formats, and fears that some nations will be disadvantaged, have twice stymied efforts to launch a league structure since 2010.
  • A version was supposed to begin in 2013 but was scrapped because existing commercial arrangements meant the ICC was obliged to stage the one-day Champions Trophy instead. 
  • Then plans for a June 2017 launch were scuppered when some of the game’s powerbrokers, including India, objected to a proposed two-tier league system, saying smaller teams would be disadvantaged. 
  • There was also a reported lack of interest from television companies. 

What it means for India

  • India is one of the countries where footfall for Tests has been on the decline compared to heady days of early 2000s, especially for games against low-profile teams. The popularity of the shorter format is obviously making an impact. 
  • The concept though could face hurdles when it is India’s turn to face Pakistan. Bilateral ties remain severed between the two teams since 2012-13 due to the strained political climate between the neighbours. 
  • Currently, the two teams play each other only in ICC events. Considering the league technically falls under this category, it will be interesting to see what stance the Indian Board or even the Government takes in this context.
  • Due the security concerns in Pakistan, their home games are hosted in Dubai at the moment. However, India has refrained from even travelling to the city to play a bilateral series. 
  • Last year, the India women’s team were docked points for skipping three matches against Pakistan in the Women’s Championship tournament. The incident meant that the team had to play two qualifying games to make reach the World Cup in England. 

Watch the ICC CEO Dave Richardson explain the changes and the reasoning behind them here:

With inputs from AFP

We welcome your comments at
Sponsored Content BY 

Why should inclusion matter to companies?

It's not just about goodwill - inclusivity is a good business decision.

To reach a 50-50 workplace scenario, policies on diversity need to be paired with a culture of inclusiveness. While diversity brings equal representation in meetings, board rooms, promotions and recruitment, inclusivity helps give voice to the people who might otherwise be marginalized or excluded. Inclusion at workplace can be seen in an environment that values diverse opinions, encourages collaboration and invites people to share their ideas and perspectives. As Verna Myers, a renowned diversity advocate, puts it “Diversity is being invited to the party, inclusion is being asked to dance.”

Creating a sense of belonging for everyone is essential for a company’s success. Let’s look at some of the real benefits of a diverse and inclusive workplace:

Better decision making

A whitepaper by Cloverpop, a decision making tool, established a direct link between inclusive decision making and better business performance. The research discovered that teams that followed an inclusive decision-making process made decisions 2X faster with half the meetings and delivered 60% better results. As per Harvard Business School Professor Francesca Gino, this report highlights how diversity and inclusion are practical tools to improve decision making in companies. According to her, changing the composition of decision making teams to include different perspectives can help individuals overcome biases that affect their decisions.

Higher job satisfaction

Employee satisfaction is connected to a workplace environment that values individual ideas and creates a sense of belonging for everyone. A research by Accenture identified 40 factors that influence advancement in the workplace. An empowering work environment where employees have the freedom to be creative, innovative and themselves at work, was identified as a key driver in improving employee advancement to senior levels.


A research by stated the in India, 62% of innovation is driven by employee perceptions of inclusion. The study included responses from 1,500 employees from Australia, China, Germany, India, Mexico and the United States and showed that employees who feel included are more likely to go above and beyond the call of duty, suggest new and innovative ways of getting work done.

Competitive Advantage

Shirley Engelmeier, author of ‘Inclusion: The New Competitive Business Advantage’, in her interview with Forbes, talks about the new global business normal. She points out that the rapidly changing customer base with different tastes and preferences need to feel represented by brands. An inclusive environment will future-proof the organisation to cater to the new global consumer language and give it a competitive edge.

An inclusive workplace ensures that no individual is disregarded because of their gender, race, disability, age or other social and cultural factors. Accenture has been a leading voice in advocating equal workplace. Having won several accolades including a perfect score on the Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate equality index, Accenture has demonstrated inclusive and diverse practices not only within its organisation but also in business relationships through their Supplier Inclusion and Diversity program.

In a video titled ‘She rises’, Accenture captures the importance of implementing diverse policies and creating an inclusive workplace culture.


To know more about inclusion and diversity, see here.

This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of Accenture and not by the Scroll editorial team.