South Africa's proposed four-day Test against Zimbabwe receives ICC green signal

".discussion to do with the World Cup Qualifiers next year due to be held in Zimbabwe.the ICC chair (person) requested that we provide guarantees at two levels; security guarantee for all the teams that will be visiting the country including the athletes and the technical officials and start from the ICC to make sure that the games are smooth", Hlongwane told reporters after his closed door meeting with Manohar.

"This means fans around the world can enjoy worldwide cricket knowing every game counts and in the case of the ODI league, it counts towards qualification to the ICC Cricket World Cup".

"Bringing context to bilateral cricket is not a new challenge, but this is the first time a genuine solution has been agreed on".

Nine of the 12 test-approved countries - Zimbabwe, Afghanistan and Ireland will initially be excluded - will play three home and three away series over the two years that count towards the championship. Each series will have a minimum of two Test matches and a maximum of five. "It's all positive. The Ashes will continue to be the biggest Test event that we play, but these matches will have even greater meaning than they do now, if that's possible".

Following Friday's confirmation from the International Cricket Council (ICC) that four-day Test matches had been given the go-ahead to be trialed, it is looking increasingly likely that South Africa will take part in the first ever shortened Test match.

The World Cricket League Championship is already underway, with all participants having played more than 10 matches each.

The Test Championship, however, won't include Zimbabwe, Afghanistan and Ireland.

Richardson added that a 13-team ODI league would be introduced from 2021 and determine which teams qualify for the World Cup in India two years later.

The battle for the final two spots in the 2019 World Cup will begin in Zimbabwe in March 2018, after the country was announced the host of the qualifying tournament. According to the ICC statement: "Members will be able to schedule four-day games by bilateral agreement, and a set of standardised playing conditions will now be finalised". The Test, though, has to go ahead as a trial, David Richardson, the ICC chief executive, said.