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HomeAfghanistan3 Burning Questions from the Proposed ODI & Test Leagues

3 Burning Questions from the Proposed ODI & Test Leagues



Last Updated on 7 years by Charbel Coorey

The ICC recently agreed in principle a plan to introduce a Test League after the 2019 World Cup, and an ODI league in 2020-21.

In the Test League will comprise of the top nine nations, where each team will play six series, three home and three away, over a period of two years.

The ODI League will comprise of top 13 teams, where the 13th team will be the winner of the ICC Cricket League Championship. The top 10 teams gain automatic entry into the World Cup.

It all sounds exciting, but is it likely to work? Here are three burning questions I have about how successful these leagues can be, in an attempt to keep Test & ODI Cricket alive in the face of T20.

In the Test League, will all teams still get a fair chance?

Will teams play the same amount of matches? No. Will some teams play more games against higher ranked opponents? Yes. Some teams might not even play each other at all – e.g. Pakistan and India.
So how will the points system & ranking work? All series will be a minimum of two Test matches, but up to five Test matches are possible, to cater for series like the Ashes.
What does this mean for teams such as West Indies, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Zimbabwe who rarely play series above 2-3 matches? 
If a team has plays their minimum of 12 Test matches across two years, what is their way of competing in the table against a team like Australia, India and England who might play 20+ Tests? Also, teams like India, Australia and England will likely play more games against higher ranked opponents, so what is their way of competing with teams who play less games against high ranked teams?
For example, Bangladesh might win 5 Tests across three two-match home series against West Indies, Zimbabwe and Sri Lanka (six Tests, two series wins), whereas England might win 4 Tests across ten matches against Australia and India (two series losses). Bangladesh have won more games in this period, in less games, but England have played higher ranked opposition. So how will the points system ensure that both Bangladesh and England won’t be left feeling disappointed?
The ultimate solution is to have a three-match series, every series, including The Ashes. Yes, The Ashes is incredible and has been five Tests since the 19th century, but every series will be relevant and the same length. Introducing a points system that works will be a lot more engaging and understandable for fans, as all teams have equal opportunity.

Will the ODI League give less power to the governing bodies of the top nations?

The ICC needs to step in somehow. There must be a view that some immediate revenue should be sacrificed, to allow the lesser nations greater opportunities against the top nations. This is especially considering there will be context in these games, as the top teams can’t afford to slip up, because a World Cup spot is up for grabs.
Imagine Ireland or Afghanistan engaged in a three match series against India. It gives these nations a chance to get better, and cricket will be better for it. 
What’s that you say? It won’t be a great “product”?
Well surely it’s better than seeing India and Australia play each other all the time. It gives us something different. In this situation, short-term revenue should be put to the side, with long-term gain the focus. Our game will become more global. 
Like the Test League, all teams need an equal chance. This means the length of series, as well as the number of series that each teams plays against each other, needs to be equal, but this won’t be the case.
In the proposed ODI League, each team will play 8 out of the 12 teams in the league, and governing bodies might still have power to choose the series they play. This doesn’t encourage further global expansion of the game, and means that the ODI League is unlikely to be successful.

How do you get the most out of these Leagues, with the T20 Leagues all around the world?

It comes down to the length of series, and how they are promoted. You must keep fans engaged. 
Some teams playing longer series and more matches than others won’t keep fans interested.
Cricket is enjoyed by millions all over the world, but the Leagues need to give all fans the chance to enjoy it. 
If each team plays 12 Test matches across two years, it means there will be greater demand. Why? Because there is less of it. Plus, each game has meaning. There is a chance to be crowned World-Test Champion. A Test match comes along, and people will be excited by it.
It’s the same with the ODI League. If it is positioned correctly, it can be quite successful, even in the face of T20 domination across the world. Each game needs to be given meaning.
However, with short-term revenue the big focus, it’s hard to see how these Leagues will see a big revamp in International Cricket.
Charbel Coorey
Charbel Coorey
Charbel is the owner & founder of, based in Sydney, Australia. He started the website to fulfill his love for the game of cricket. Charbel has also been featured on other publications including OP India, Times of India, and The Roar, among others. For any story tips or questions, you can contact Charbel at

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