The ICC is set to discuss the possibility of a points-based structure for international cricket at its forthcoming board meeting in Dubai. ESPNcricinfo understands that the idea of giving points for each victory in a bilateral tour across all formats – as pioneered in the Women’s Ashes since 2013 – then translating the overall winner into a “championship” table will be one of the options debated amid wider discussions on how to bring greater context to bilateral series.
It has recently emerged that the ECB is in discussions with the PCB and SLC over adding the additional dimension of awarding an overall winner across formats to the upcoming series during the English season. Earlier this week, SLC confirmed to ESPNcricinfo that it would discuss the proposal at a board meeting later this month.
Although the discussions at ICC level remain at an early stage, the governing body is aware that the international game faces increasing pressures from the expansion of T20 leagues and the lack of relevance to some bilateral series – especially outside of marquee contests such as the Ashes – is a key issue. A previous attempt to launch a World Test Championship fell by the wayside and was replaced by the return of the Champions Trophy.
Current one-day rankings act as a qualifier for the Champions Trophy – World T20 champions West Indies missed the cut for next year’s event in England – and, as it stands, will also decide which teams from the 12 in the rankings join the qualifying event for the 2019 World Cup. But there is a desire to give more meaning to a greater number of one-day bilaterals which often take place with little more than individual series victories at stake, while the T20 segments of tours are often one or two matches tagged on at the tail end. A points-based structure would also mean that currently dead Tests – with the series already decided – would potentially have greater meaning. Cricket Australia’s team performance manager Pat Howard said that events in the UK, if they go ahead for the series against Sri Lanka and Pakistan, would be monitored with interest ahead of Australia’s next assignments, including a multi-format tour of Sri Lanka in July and August.
“We’ve noted the trial and we will see how it plays out,” Howard said, “before considering any changes to our current system, whether it be at home or in away series.”
If the concept were to be used during the English season, it would not replace any of the existing series trophies up for grabs. Andrew Strauss, the director of England cricket, has previously spoken about how he sees the points system as a way of re-energising the international game. “How do you encourage the public to re-engage with the international game? I believe you have to look at giving every match context… if it is a case of ‘just another Test match’ or just another five-ODI series between two nations, it loses some of its context and some of its meaning and that is something the ICC needs to look at,” he told the Cricket Paper last year.
“I personally think there is scope in linking up Test, ODI and T20 cricket in some sort of bigger world championship that involves all three formats. It’s an idea I’ve been a fan of for a long time.”
A report in British newspaper the i said that the ICC will also discuss creating windows in the international calendar for domestic T20 tournaments to take place so that they do not compete directly with international series.