No better term in the English language can describe the impact of Twenty-20 format on the cricketing world than disruptive innovation. The 'fast-food' cricket broke the existing market, created a new space for itself and became the leader of the race, leaving Test and ODI cricket behind.
The rise in popularity of T-20 cricket is fairly obvious. The game gets over in three hours, and that period is usually packed with big hits, spectacular catches, innovative bowling, apart from cheer girls and fireworks.
The growing demand for the shorter format, however, deepened the troubles for other two formats: Test and ODI - which have been accused of having matches that lack context. One-sided, meaningless bilateral series and rapid growth of T-20 has resulted into dwindling stadium attendances and interest in the game.
This dip in popularity finally woke up the International Cricket Council (ICC), which decided to take a few steps to rejuvenate the game. On Friday, the board approved the Test championship and an ODI league. The idea is to provide context and narrative around all fixtures and incentivise neutral fans for following matches of other teams. The revamp is expected to increase the appeal and encourage more people to watch cricket.
Here's all you need to know about the revamp.
What is the championship?
The ICC-approved championship will include nine Test playing teams - India, South Africa, England, New Zealand, Australia, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, West Indies and Bangladesh - which will play six series against their rivals; three at home and three away.
Each series will have minimum two Tests and can go up to five Tests. Teams will earn points according to their performances in the series and the top two teams will then fight it out for the championship.
When will the championship begin?
The first-ever Test championship will begin immediately after the 2019 ODI World Cup and will continue till 2021. It will only include five-day matches.
Zimbabwe, Ireland and Afghanistan, for now, have been excluded from the championship.
What is the league?
The new 50-over league will be similar to the one that already exists in women's cricket. It will include 12 full members - India, Australia, New Zealand, West Indies, England, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Zimbabwe, Ireland, Afghanistan - and one associate member.
The teams will play eight series - four at home and four away - in the first edition of the league. Each series will comprise of three ODIs. From the second edition, the teams will play against each other. And the league will always serve as a direct qualification pathway to the World Cup.
When will the league start?
The league will start sometime in 2020 and will be used to select teams that earn direct qualification for the 2023 World Cup.
One of the criticisms of the league is that it will make the qualification of associate teams even tougher. To participate in the league, an associate team has to first win the ICC World Cricket League Championship. After which, it has to compete with 12 full members to book a place in a 10-team World Cup.
However, even after all the criticism, the changes are expected to bring back more people to the stadiums as it will eliminate dead rubbers by placing points on every game.
Feature image: AFP/ICC