Capetown: The first world Test champion will be crowned in 2013 under radical proposals by the International Cricket Council on Tuesday.
Cricket's governing body is looking to provide a context to all Test matches by recommending the introduction of a four-year league that will culminate in a champion from a four-team playoff. The first playoff series is planned to take place in three years' time.
A one-day league, running from 2011-14 and separate from the 50-over Cricket World Cup, has also been recommended in a series of far-reaching proposals put forward for consideration to the ICC board by its Chief Executives' Committee (CEC), after two days of talks in Cape Town.
"The holistic set of proposals, especially introducing more meaningful context, means we now have the potential to follow international cricket that is even more exciting," ICC chief executive Haroon Lorgat said.
Protecting and promoting all three formats at international level is viable and I believe the CEC has shown itself to be forward thinking in tackling the challenges.
The ICC is looking to create more interest in Test cricket, which has a world rankings but no definitive championship. Results are therefore often viewed in isolation and without an overall context.
A 50-over World Cup has been running since 1975 while the first World Twenty20 was played in 2007. Test-match crowds have dwindled, with Twenty20 cricket proving more popular.
"Restructuring international cricket is a significant strategic challenge and one that must be dealt with," Lorgat said.
Other recommendations include a change in the number of teams competing in the Cricket World Cup and the World Twenty20, and the introduction of Twenty20 rankings.
The executive committee is recommending a 10-team format in the World Cup from 2015, a reduction of four compared to the 2011 tournament when there will 14 teams competing in co-hosts India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.
The number of countries playing in the World Twenty20 would increase from 12 to 16 teams if the proposals are ratified.