Plans for ICC women's championship
The International Cricket Council has announced plans for a Women's Championship, beginning in August.
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The idea of a Test championship in men's cricket has been mooted for some time but scheduling and broadcasting issues saw it ditched in place of the Champions Trophy.
But the governing body has decided to institute a similar blueprint, using one-day internationals, in the women's game.
A points system will decide a top four in the world, who automatically qualify for the 2017 World Cup, to be hosted in England, with the next four sides meeting six regional qualifiers to reach the flagship tournament.
England's first assignments are a home series against India this summer, followed by a tour of New Zealand.
Initial rankings are based on finishing positions in the 2013 Women's World Cup, with England third behind West Indies and India.
Former England captain Clare Connor, who chairs the ICC women's committee, said: "The ICC Women's Championship is an exciting new initiative that represents a significant step in the continued development of women's cricket.
"The multi-year structure provides regular playing opportunities for the leading women's teams, as well as clear context around bi-lateral series that provides a competitive pathway into the ICC Women's World Cup 2017."
ICC chief executive David Richardson added: "The ICC Women's Championship provides another fantastic opportunity for women's cricket.
"Following the ICC Board's decision to hold a stand-alone ICC Women's World Twenty20 tournament every four years, alternately with the ongoing joint men's and women's ICC World Twenty20, this tournament guarantees both regular playing opportunities and a meritocratic pathway to the ICC Women's World Cup."