The qualifying period and logo for the World Test Championship, which will conclude in 2017, have been unveiled in Abu Dhabi.
Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq and his South Africa counterpart Graeme Smith were present at the event launch.
International Cricket Council (ICC) Chief Executive David Richardson explained:
"The qualification pathway for the ICC World Test Championship will be through the Reliance ICC Test Team Rankings, with the qualifying period being from 1 May 2013 through to 31 December 2016.
"The top four teams at the conclusion of the qualification period will qualify for the event in 2017. The results of any Test series ending after 1 May 2013, and the results of any Test series starting before 31 December 2016, will be included in the period that determines qualification for the ICC WTC."
Smith, who will lead his side against Pakistan in the opening Test in Abu Dhabi from 14th October, added:
"It’s fantastic to have a pathway clearly identified for the ICC World Test Championship and to know that the top four teams will have a chance to battle it out to be crowned the ultimate champions.
"It adds a new meaning for all the Test teams when it comes to the rankings and the context of all Test series."
Misbah, whose side are not currently in the top four, said: "Test cricket is a journey and it’s the pinnacle of our game. It will add even more context to all the bi-lateral series that the Test sides play and ultimately gives each team a chance to be world champions in Test cricket."
© Cricket World 2013