The International Cricket Council (ICC) has revealed further efforts to position Twenty20 as the format to boost the sport’s global growth as the Champions Trophy was removed from the calendar and proposals to utilise London Stadium as a 2019 World Cup venue were cast aside.
The announcements came on the final day of a week of ICC meetings in Kolkata, India. The ICC board has given the green light to all T20 matches between members being awarded international status, along with introducing global rankings in the format.
The move across both men’s and women’s cricket is part of the wider strategic aim of using the T20 format to globalise the game. The ICC said new minimum standards will be introduced to make it as easy as possible for members to play international cricket in a sustainable and affordable way.
All member women’s teams will be awarded T20I status on July 1, whilst all men’s teams will follow suit on January 1, following the cut-off point for qualification to the 2020 World T20. Rankings for women and men will be introduced in October and May 2019, respectively.
As a consequence of this, ICC members have signed off a new Future Tours Programme (FTP) for 2019-2023 that incorporates the introduction of the World Test Championship and an additional World T20 event in place of the Champions Trophy that was scheduled for India in 2021.
The final structure of the FTP, which received unanimous backing, includes World Cups in 2019 and 2023, World T20s in 2020 and 2021, the World Test Championship across two cycles from 2019-21 and 2021-23, along with finals in 2021 and 2023, respectively.
The ICC approved the launch of a new nine-team Test league and 13-team one-day international (ODI) league in October. The ODI league will serve as a direct qualification competition for the World Cup and will run from 2020 to 2022.
ICC chief executive David Richardson said: “Signing off the FTP has been the result of unwavering commitment from all members to get to this point and we look forward to the commencement of both the new ICC World Test Championship and ODI League in 2019 and 2020 respectively.
“We are particularly pleased with the unanimous agreement to award all T20 bilateral games international status and the move to create a global ranking system for T20Is. We are committed to growing the game and T20 is the vehicle through which we’ll do this and removing restrictions and having all members ranked is a positive step forward.”
Meanwhile, the ICC has confirmed the schedule for the 2019 World Cup, with London Stadium missing from the venues selected for the tournament which will be held in England and Wales from May 30 to July 14 next year.
It was reported last year that London Stadium, the former Olympic Stadium and current home of English Premier League football club West Ham United, was set to host matches after the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) targeted the staging of two high-profile games at the 66,000-capacity venue.
However, the ICC named 11 traditional cricket venues for the tournament. Old Trafford in Manchester will host the maximum six matches, while Edgbaston in Birmingham, Hampshire Bowl in Southampton, Lord’s and The Oval (both in London) and Trent Bridge in Nottingham will stage five matches each.
Cardiff Wales Stadium in the Welsh capital and Headingley in Leeds have been allocated four matches each and the County Ground in Bristol, County Ground in Taunton and The Riverside in Chester-le-Street have got three matches each.
Steve Elworthy, managing director for the 2019 World Cup, said: “Our ambition is to grow the game and deliver the greatest ever cricket celebration and with that in mind we have very carefully developed our ticket prices.
“The prices have been tested with thousands of fans over the last six months, we have used external experts and consulted widely to ensure that they are good value vs other global sporting events. The prices balance accessibility with delivering the investment required to deliver a world class event. All revenue is invested back in the game to grow cricket.”
There will be 80,000-plus tickets offered at £20 (€23/$28), while more than 200,000 tickets will be available at £50 or less.