The 2019 Specsavers Ashes series will have more than the historic urn resting on the outcome, with the inaugural ICC World Test Championship beginning at Edgbaston on 1 August.
For the first time in Test cricket, points are on offer for the winner of each match in a series, meaning there’s something to play for even after a series has been decided.
On Monday 29 July, all nine participating nations are celebrating the launch of the World Test Championship, which sees 72 matches contested between August 2019 and June 2021.
It will be very interesting to see how the dynamic of matches and series changes with points on the line, especially as qualification for the final gets closer.Ashley Giles
Each Test series offers 120 points, split equally among each of the matches, with points on offer for winning or drawing the match. Each nation will play six series in the two-year competition, with the final held in June 2021 between the top two nations in the table.
Following the ICC’s Future Tours Programme, England’s World Test Championship fixtures see them play Australia, West Indies and Pakistan at home and South Africa, Sri Lanka and India on the road.
On the launch of the ICC World Test Championship, Ashley Giles, Managing Director for England Men’s Cricket, said: “For many, Test match cricket remains the pinnacle of the sport. It’s great to see the World Test Championship introduced to add an extra element of competition.
“We obviously always go into a Test match with the intention of winning, but it will be very interesting to see how the dynamic of matches and series changes with points on the line, especially as qualification for the final gets closer.
“We’re all looking forward to another exciting Specsavers Ashes series against Australia and hope not only to bring the urn back home, but also to get off to a strong start in the World Test Championship.”
Tom Harrison, ECB Chief Executive Officer, said: “Test match cricket remains a key priority for the ECB. We continue to be committed to developing a thriving first-class game in England and Wales by £450m into the county network to help develop the next generation of England Test stars.
“There is an unrivalled support for Test cricket in the UK, as shown by the sold-out Specsavers Ashes series against Australia and the incredible travelling support the England team gets on overseas tours.
“So, what better way to start the World Test Championships than with the Ashes? An historic rivalry that transcends traditional international interests and captures the attention of cricket fans across the world.”