Cricket: England and Wales to stage inaugural World Test Championship in 2017

LONDON (AFP) - England and Wales will stage the inaugural World Test Championship in June and July of 2017, the International Cricket Council (ICC) announced on Saturday, following the conclusion of its annual conference in London.

The World Test Championship will replace the Champions Trophy, recently won by India this month after they beat hosts England by five runs in the final at Birmingham's Edgbaston ground.

India will stage the second edition of the Test Championship in February/March 2021.

"We are delighted to confirm the exciting schedule of events through to 2023," ICC chief executive David Richardson said in the statement.

"The ICC Champions Trophy in England and Wales was highly acclaimed and appreciated by all.

"However, the principle of one pinnacle global event for each of the three formats (Test, One-Day and Twenty20) over a four-year cycle is a good one and, as such, the ICC board has agreed to replace the Champions Trophy with the ICC World Test Championship," the former South Africa wicketkeeper added.

"Now that the ICC World Test Championship has been confirmed, we'll work on the playing conditions and qualification criteria, and will submit these to the ICC board for approval in due course."

The ICC had planned to stage the first Test Championship in England this year but existing commercial agreements meant it had to stage a one-day international tournament instead, hence the last edition of the Champions Trophy.

Saturday's announcement regarding the World Test Championship was part of a package of global events due to take place between 2015 and 2023.