LONDON: Eighteen days of international one-day cricket will provide an aperitif for next year's Ashes series in England with the world governing body hoping to capitalise on West Indies' success in the Twenty20 World Cup.
The Champions Trophy, a 50-overs tournament involving the world's top eight one-day sides, has been a poor relation of the four-yearly World Cup and next year's edition will be the last in this format.
It will be replaced in 2017 by the International Cricket Council's (ICC) inaugural test championship which will give each of the game's three formats a single global trophy.
In the meantime, the ICC needs to sell a tournament which will be staged from June 6-23 at the Oval in London, Edgbaston in Birmingham and the Cardiff Wales stadium.
At the official launch on Wednesday from the towering heights of the Millbank Tower, which overlooks the Oval in south London, tournament director Steve Elworthy said the competition would feature “seriously intense cricket”.
West Indies' thrilling victory this month in the Twenty20 World Cup final, after they had appeared to be down and out against hosts Sri Lanka, is expected to generate renewed enthusiasm among London's Caribbean community who flocked to the Oval during their team's glory days in the 1980s.
“In the first two games at the Oval you have West Indies against Pakistan and then you have India versus the West Indies, that's specifically because of the Caribbean community in and around the Oval,” Elworthy said.
ICC chief executive Dave Richardson added: “Each team has matchwinners, there's not a team in which you think I'm not going to bother going along and watching.”
England captain Alastair Cook said the tournament was an opportunity for his team to win their second global trophy following their victory in the 2010 Twenty20 World Cup.
“We've only won one ICC tournament and we'd like to win another one,” he said.
“We've got a really good home record and the conditions suit our style of play so we've got an opportunity as a side to do something really special.
“We've played some really good one-day cricket and we're quite a balanced side over the last 18 months or so.
“We've still got a huge amount of potential and work to do to reach where we would like to be, to keep consistency in our play. What's important for me as a captain is we keep on improving.”