ICC launches world championship to preserve Cricket Tests

ABU DHABI, October 12, 2013 (AFP) – Cricket’s governing body launched the World Test Championship 2017 on Saturday aimed at preserving the primacy of the longer format of the game. The International Cricket Council (ICC) said the inaugural championship will be hosted by England and will feature the top four teams in the ICC Test rankings, with a total prize money of $10 million at stake.

“The objective of the championship is to preserve the primacy of Tests and to preserve the future of all formats of the game,” ICC chief executive David Richardson said at the launch on the sidelines of the Pakistan-South Africa two-Test series starting on Monday.

The championship, originally planned for 2013 but delayed because broadcasters wanted a limited overs event, will replace the Champions Trophy, the last edition of which was hosted by England earlier this year.

The attractions of Test cricket have faced serious competition in recent years from the Twenty20 phenomenon.

Richardson, a former South African wicketkeeper/batsman, said the qualifying phase for the Test championship runs from May 2013 and will end in December 2016.

“The qualification pathway for the ICC W