The International Cricket Council on Wednesday released the men's Future Tours Programme (FTP) from 2018-2023. The FTP provides clarity and certainty around all bilateral international fixtures and incorporates all three formats of the game. A World Test Championship has been created along with a 13-team men's ODI league that will act as a qualification pathway for the ICC Cricket World Cup. Nine top-ranked sides will participate in the inaugural edition of the World Test Championship, which will run from July 15, 2019 to April 30, 2021.
The sides will play six series in the two-year cycle on a home and away basis against opponents they have mutually selected. The two top-ranked sides will then progress to the June 2021 final to decide the World Test champions.
In addition, the 12 Test playing nations and the Netherlands, will participate in the 13-team ODI League, which will run from 1 May 2020 to 31 March 2022 and all the sides will play eight series over a two-year cycle on a home and away basis against mutually agreed opponents.
India's opening series in the World Test Championship is against the Windies in the Caribbean in July 2019, while their first ODI series in the league is against Sri Lanka in Sri Lanka in June 2020.
This league will serve as a qualification pathway for the ICC Men's Cricket World Cup 2023. India (as host) plus the seven highest-ranked sides in the ODI league as on 31 March 2022 will qualify directly for the ICC Cricket World Cup 2023, while the bottom five sides will get a second chance to qualify through the ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifier.
The principles followed by Members in the creation of this men's FTP are as follows:
Scheduling the appropriate amount of cricket in each format (home and away) for each Member;
With matches scheduled at the preferred time of year in each territory;
Inclusion of existing series that have already been committed to commercial partners (mainly in 2019-20);
Providing optimum preparation for ICC Events by playing the same format immediately before the tournament;
Sufficient time for Members to schedule their preferred bilateral content outside of World Test Championship and ODI league;
Periods when individual Boards want to allow their national team players to be available to compete in domestic T20 leagues.
ICC Chief Executive David Richardson congratulated the Members for their efforts in the preparation of the men's Future Tours Programme:
"The agreement of this FTP means we have clarity, certainty and most importantly context around bilateral cricket over the next five years. The World Test Championship will get underway next year with the ODI league kicking off in 2020 as part of the qualification towards the ICC Cricket World Cup 2023.
"Bringing context to bilateral cricket is not a new challenge, but with the release of this FTP, our Members have found a genuine solution that gives fans around the world the chance to engage regularly with international cricket that has meaning and the possibility of a global title at the end."
As part of the agreed international cricket structure, the ICC Board has already approved an additional ICC World T20 in place of the ICC Champions Trophy as well as giving Twenty20 International Status to all 104 Members.