The year 2019 is action-packed in world cricket. From May to July, 10 nations will battle it out for the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 which will be held in England. After the end of the ICC Cricket World Cup, the World Test championship will begin where the top teams will play each other in series in a two-year cycle with the championship culminating in a final between the top two teams in 2021 at Lord’s. With the face of cricket changing entirely after the ICC Cricket World Cup, the Board of Control for Cricket in India has also decided to change their outlook in order to prepare the Indian team for success in the World Test Championship.
According to a report in PTI, the BCCI has zeroed in on Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane, Prithvi Shaw, Hanuma Vihari, Mayank Agarwal, Ravichandran Ashwin and Ishant Sharma to play County Cricket in order to prepare themselves for the Test Championship. Pujara already has a three-year contract with Yorkshire and is set to play there again. Rahane is likely to sign a deal with Hampshire in the coming week and is waiting for the approval of all three Committee of Administrators. Some of the counties that BCCI is talking to include Leicestershire, Essex, Nottinghamshire.
“CoA head Vinod Rai has already given his approval but Diana Edulji and Lt General Ravi Thodage are yet to give their approvals. With India set to play against the Caribbean in about a fortnight after the end of the World Cup, the BCCI has prepared a proposal wherein their Test specialists can play some red ball cricket in months of June till mid-July,” a senior unnamed BCCI official told PTI. “During the last Test series in England, the BCCI has had discussions with the CEOs of all major counties so that our top Test players can play there in summers.”
Virat Kohli was supposed to play for Surrey just before the start of the England series but he got injured. The ICC Test Championship will feature nine of the twelve Test-playing nations, each of whom will play a Test series against six of the other eight teams. Each series will consist of between two and five matches, so although all teams will play six series (three at home and three away), they will not play the same number of Tests.
The five-Test Ashes contest will mark the beginning of the ICC Test Championship while the West Indies are set to tour India, and New Zealand host Sri Lanka, both in July, making for a hectic start to the new tournament. The final league game will be played in April 2021, with the West Indies set to travel to Sri Lanka for a two-Test series.