ICC likely to introduce league in plans to overhaul ODI cricket

After years of debating over the decline in popularity of One-Day Internationals (ODIs) and increasing the number of elite teams, the International Cricket Council is likely to present a league of 13 nations, in which the top two placed team will face each other in a final.

If such a system comes into place, it will be interesting to see how the India-Pakistan bilateral series will be organised, given the fact that refusing or declining to play may cost either of the teams in points.   -  Getty Images

After years of debating over the decline in popularity of One-Day Internationals (ODIs) and increasing the number of elite teams, the International Cricket Council is likely to present a league of 13 nations, in which the top two placed team will face each other in a final.

According to a report in Daily Telegraph, the plans will be discussed in the ICC's annual general meeting to be held later this month and will likely come into action from 2019.

1. League of 13 teams — Top two placed teams face each other in final.

2. League will decide qualification and seeding for the 50-over World Cup.

3. Three-match bilateral series — either home or away.

4. Increasing number of elite teams — including Afghanistan, Ireland and Scotland.

5. Likely to come into action from 2019

The proposal concentrates on organising more bilateral series, where the teams will play three matches — either home or away. Teams will play against every other country, which will result to 36 ODIs each year over the next three years.

Just like the Women's ODI Championship, the league will also decide qualification and seeding for the World Cup, with the teams finishing bottom of the table getting relegated to the second tier ODI league - World Cricket Championship.

Teams will be allowed to host more than three ODIs, however, it will not affect the league's pointing system.

Positive news for Ireland, Afghanistan

The report further mentions that the ICC may look to include nations like Afghanistan, Ireland and Scotland, as it aims to increase the number of elite teams.

The one-day cricket has been facing tough competition from the shortest format of the game. For the ICC, apart from the World Cup, the 50-over format hardly generates any interest and revenue.

Along with the discussion of having a two-divisional structure in Test cricket, the ICC is likely to debate on the aforesaid proposal.

However, both the reforms depend on the changes made in the ICC's revenue model. As a result, the final decision on the proposals will not be made before October's board meeting.

The annual general meeting in Edinburgh, later this month or in early July, is also expected to discuss proposal on organising the World Twenty20 every two years from 2018.

India-Pakistan bilateral series

If such a system comes into place, it will be interesting to see how the India-Pakistan bilateral series will be organised, given the fact that refusing or declining to play may cost either of the teams in points.