MUMBAI (Reuters) - A three-match series between world champions England and Ireland beginning on Thursday will kick off the inaugural Super League, which will determine who qualifies for the 50-over World Cup in India in 2023, the International Cricket Council said on Monday.
Aside from during the World Cup every four years, the appeal of the one-day game has dwindled after the arrival of the shorter Twenty20 version of the sport, and it is hoped that the Super League will restore some of the 50-over format’s popularity.
“The league will bring relevance and context to ODI cricket over the next three years, as qualification for the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2023 is at stake,” Geoff Allardice, ICC general manager - cricket operations, said in a statement.
The launch of the Super League was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic with a number of series cancelled due to restrictions on international travel and lockdowns in various countries to contain the virus.
International cricket finally resumed this month without the presence of spectators when England hosted West Indies in a three-test series.
World champions England will also host the first white-ball internationals when they take on Ireland in the three-match ODI series in a bio-secure environment at Southampton.
The league will feature the 12 ICC test-playing nations and the Netherlands, who qualified by winning the World Cricket Super League 2015-17.
The top seven teams in the league, which will see each side play four home and four away series of three matches, will automatically confirm their spot at the 2023 event.
Last week, the ICC moved the World Cup in India to an October-November window from its original February-March slot, in order to find fresh slots for series cancelled due to the pandemic.
“Given the situation, it will be quite different to the last time we played at home, when we lifted the World Cup at Lord’s, but it’s nice to be starting our journey for the next edition of the tournament,” England’s ODI captain Eoin Morgan said.
Reporting by Sudipto Ganguly; editing by Simon Cameron-Moore