ICC's inaugural World Test Champions begins with the first Ashes Test on August 1
With One Day International (ODI) cricket having a new World Champion, Test cricket is now preparing to have its own first-time champion. But the wait will be long and excruciating for the fans of Test cricket.
Unlike the ODI World Cup, which is generally played for a period of month and a half, the inaugural edition of the ICC World Test Championship (WTC), which starts from August 1, 2019 will culminate only in June 2021. Test cricket is indeed the sports's longest format!
So, what is the WTC and why did International Cricket Council (ICC) feel the need for a championship of Test cricket?
With more Twenty-20 (T20) cricket being played than ever before and ODIs and T20 Internationals having their separate World Championships, cricket's governing body felt the need to give Tests its own champion.
Moreover, WTC would add more context to a bilateral Test series.
How will it work?
Test matches from bilateral series will help teams earn points over a period of two years. The top teams, with the most points, will play the WTC final.
When does the ICC WTC start?
Cricket's oldest rivals will start cricket's newest championship. Ashes is being played in England this year with first Ashes Test scheduled to start from August 1 in Birmingham. The Birmingham Test also marks the start of the WTC.
Starting from August 1, the nine top-ranked Test sides -- India, New Zealand, South Africa, England, Australia, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, West Indies and Bangladesh -- will each play six series (three at home and three away) over a two-year cycle. Each series will have Test matches ranging between two to five.
Every series played under WTC is worth 120 points. Hence, a Test played as part of a two-Test series will be worth 60 points and a Test played in a five-match series is worth 24 points. A team can score a maximum of 720 points during this cycle.Point System
|Matches played in a series||Points for a win||Points for a draw||Points for a tie||Points for a loss|
The top two teams at the end of the two-year cycle will contest the final. The final will be played at Lord's.
In case the final ends in a draw or a tie, the team that topped the table, will win the WTC.
Will Tests be played outside WTC during this period?
Yes. There will be Test matches played outside WTC. For example, England's tour of New Zealand for a two-Test match series is not a part of WTC. Similarly, Australia’s proposed one-off Test against Afghanistan to start the 2020-21 Australian summer is outside WTC.
Which teams will India play in the WTC?
India are scheduled to play West Indies (away), South Africa (home), Bangladesh (home), New Zealand (away), Australia (away) and England (home).Here is the league stage breakdown of the nine Test teams
|Team||Current ICC Ranking||Tests to played as part of WTC||Home Tests||Away Tests||Will not play against|
|India||1||18||10 (against South Africa, Bangladesh, England)||8 (West Indies, New Zealand and Australia)||Pakistan and Sri Lanka|
|New Zealand||2||14||7 (against India, West Indies, Pakistan)||7 (against Sri Lanka, Australia, Bangladesh )||England and South Africa|
|South Africa||3||16||9 (against England, Sri Lanka, Australia)||7 (against India, West Indies, Pakistan)||Bangladesh and New Zealand|
|England||4||22||11 (against Australia, West Indies, Pakistan )||11 (against South Africa, Sri Lanka, India)||Bangladesh and New Zealand|
|Australia||5||19||9 (against Pakitan, New Zealand, India)||10 (against England, Bangladesh, South Africa)||Sri Lanka and West Indies|
|Sri Lanka||6||13||7 (against New Zealand, England, Bangladesh)||6 (against Pakistan, South Africa, West Indies)||Australia and India|
|Pakistan||7||13||6 (against Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, South Africa)||7 (against Australia, England, New Zealand)||India and West Indies|
|West Indies||8||15||6 (against India, South Africa and Sri Lanka)||9 (against England, New Zealand and Bangladesh)||Australia and Pakistan|
|Bangladesh||9||14||7 (against Australia, New Zealand, West Indies)||7 (India, Pakistan Sri Lanka)||England and South Africa|
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