England will face Sri Lanka and Pakistan under a new format
By Mark Crellin
Last Updated: 20/05/16 9:28am
England and Wales Cricket Board director Andrew Strauss has announced that a points system crossing all formats will be used for the matches against Sri Lanka and Pakistan this summer.
The 'Super Series' will get underway when the international summer begins with the first Test between England and Sri Lanka at Headingley on Thursday.
As is traditional, individual series trophies will still be at stake for the Tests, one-day internationals and one-off Twenty20 internationals against both tourists.
But a system will also be introduced whereby the sides can earn four points for a Test win, two for a draw, and two for a victory in one of the white-ball matches.
An overall win may therefore possibly not be achieved until the final match in each series, which will be the Twenty20 matches in the case of this summer's tours, and an unsponsored prize of £25,000 will be put up by the home board.
The idea is Strauss' own and he outlined the thinking behind it at Headingley on Wednesday.
"Today I'm introducing the Super Series, the winner of which will be the overall tour winner for the Sri Lanka and Pakistan series over all formats," said the former England captain.
"The rationale is that the game of cricket is evolving unbelievably quickly, and I think we feel responsibility to ensure the international game develops.
"Central to that is context and relevance for every game of cricket you play.
"We believe the Super Series will provide that by connecting the formats and ensuring every game counts for something more than just itself.
"Two separate white-ball teams and a red-ball team will be connected by something greater than their own immediate interests.
"What this doesn't do is replace any of the individual series awards this summer, so there will still be a Test series victor, plus the one-day series and the Twenty20 match as well.
"But it sits on top of that, wraps around it, and creates something bigger to aim for.
"The ECB is very keen to be at the forefront of efforts to modernise the international game, and we feel this is a good way of ensuring the game remains relevant in both fans' and players' minds."
If the same points formula had been applied to England's winter tours, the outcome would have been decided in the last match and the Test series winners would have been pipped at the line.
"Of course we would love the final game to be a Super Series decider, that would be perfect," said Strauss.
"If you look at the last two series we played - against South Africa we would have lost the Super Series in the final Twenty20, and against Pakistan in the UAE we would have won the Super Series in the super over in the final Twenty20.
"Anyone out there who doesn't see the need for international cricket to keep moving forwards really does have their head stuck in the sand.
"I think we have to be on the front foot on this and say 'look, we have a very vibrant Test support in this country and we've seen some fantastic Test matches over the last 12-18 months, but there are some worrying signs there - so let's act before it's too late'."
England Test captain Alastair Cook said: "I don't think we've got anything to fear about the points system.
"If it works, brilliant. I don't think there's any harm in having a look.
"If it doesn't work, it doesn't work. In this day and age, we've got to be open to new ideas."
Watch England take on Sri Lanka in the first Test at Headingley from 10am on Thursday, live on Sky Sports 2. You can also keep up-to-date with all the action by following our live blog on skysports.com/cricket and catch highlights and The Verdict on Sky Sports after each day's play.