ODI Super League launched to determine qualification for 2023 World Cup
The inaugural ODI Super League is set to start with the series between England and Ireland scheduled to commence this week.
The new competition will feature a 13-nation league and will determine automatic qualification for the seven highest-placed teams for the 2023 World Cup alongside hosts India.
The participants in the tournament include ICC's 12 full members and the Netherlands, who advanced to this group by winning the ICC World Cricket Super League 2015-17.
All teams will take part in four home and four away three-match series with the outcomes impacting their standing in the league table.
The fixtures for the competition do not have an effect on the number of games opted by any member board as bilateral contests outside the purview of the Super League can also be conducted in the fixed timeframe.
The ICC stated that it is working out dates in cooperation with national boards after the tournament was initially postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
"The decision last week to move the (50-over) World Cup back to late 2023 gives us more time to schedule any games lost due to COVID-19 and preserve the integrity of the qualification process, meaning it will be decided on the field of play, which is important," said ICC general manager Geoff Allardice.
The previous cricket system saw the top eight teams gain direct qualification to the 2019 World Cup while the remaining two spots were confirmed via a qualifying tournament.
This time, the last two slots for the 10-team event will be filled by a battle amongst the five bottom-ranked teams in the Super League and five Associate nations.
"We're looking forward to playing cricket again and to the ICC men's World Cup Super League," said England's World Cup-winning skipper Eoin Morgan.
"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."
"It is obviously going to be a huge challenge taking on the team that won the World Cup just a year ago, but we have prepared well and have taken confidence from our form over the early months of 2020," said Ireland captain Andrew Balbirnie.
"What is important is that we are getting back on the field. I hope international cricket’s return is steady during these challenging times."
The introduction of the Super League is aimed at providing context to 50-over cricket with the 2023 World Cup berth at stake.
This marks similarities with the ICC World Test Championship, which began last year between the top nine teams in the rankings.
"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," Allardice emphasised.
"The Super League gives cricket fans around the world even more reasons to watch as the drama of league cricket unfolds."