The International Cricket Council (ICC) has approved an array of new changes and formats to the global game, including a structured Test match world championship, an ODI league and the trial of four-day Test matches.
The ‘in-principle agreements’ were given by the ICC Board on the final day of the governing body's meeting in Auckland this week.
Some details are still yet to be confirmed, including the exact points system, but the first two-year Test championship will begin after the World Cup in 2019, in a bid to increase interest in the longer form of the game.
Nine teams will play six series of Test matches over a two-year period, with Zimbabwe, Afghanistan and Ireland initially excluded.
There will be a minimum of two matches in each series - all of which will be scheduled to last five days - but can be expanded to five for series such as the Ashes. The top two teams by April 2021 will face each other in a final, to be held in England two months later.
Meanwhile, a 13-team ODI league will now be used to qualify for the World Cup from 2021, with each side competing in eight series of three matches over three years.
Currently the top seven one-day sides automatically qualify for the World Cup, with a qualifying tournament held for the lower-ranked sides.
Significantly, the trial of four-day Test matches - which has divided many of the sport’s fans and commentators during the summer - will run up until the World Cup, which will be hosted by England.
While all Test championship matches will be played over five days, the ICC Board also approved the trial of four-day Tests in bilateral series up until 2019, following South Africa's request to play a match over that distance against Zimbabwe during their forthcoming home season.
A set of playing conditions for four-day Tests is set to be drawn up by ICC management in coming weeks.
Image: ©Getty Images