“The World Test Championship will bring relevance and context to bilateral Test cricket over the next two years, creating a pinnacle event for the five-day format, just as the World Cups for men and women do in the ODI and T20I formats,” ICC General Manager Geoff Allardice said this while announcing the highly anticipated World Test Championship. That championship has kicked off with the first Ashes Test between England and Australia on August 1, 2019.
The long-awaited championship is a long due project of International Cricket Council. This is to provide the much-needed boost to the longest format of the game amidst the madness of Twenty 20 cricket.
World Test Championship
This is just like another league cricket; the difference is this time it is Test cricket league. Nine top-ranked Test teams will play three series each at home and away over the span of two years to determine the best Test team in the world. There are total 71 Test matches in 27 series will be played in two years. There can also be series played outside the championship.
Points will be awarded for every single game. Two top teams will play in a World Test Championship Final. The finale will be staged in June 2021 at Lord’s, the Home of Cricket. The winners will be crowned World Test Champions. After every two-year, there will be a new Test Champion just like the World Cups give limited-overs champions every four-year.
Number of matches for each team
All teams will not play an equal number of matches. The Indian team will play 18 matches whereas England and Australia will play 22 and 19 matches respectively. South Africa will play 16, West Indies 15 matches with New Zealand and Bangladesh playing 14 Test matches each. Sri Lanka and Pakistan will play 13 matches each.
There will be 120 points for each series and will be distributed among the number of matches are being played. A two-Test match series means 60 points for each match while a three-Test series will award 40 points each. The Ashes series will be divided among five matches which means 24 points for each Test. Half the points will be added for a tied match while a draw will award a third of the points to each team involved in the match. Two points will be deducted for every over from each team at the end of a match.
Nine of the 12 Full Member countries will be participating in this championship and that are, Australia, Bangladesh, England, India, Pakistan, New Zealand, South Africa, Sri Lanka, and West Indies.
In case of a draw or tie
Thanks to most exciting World Cup final ever between England and New Zealand that decided the World Cup winner based on boundary numbers, ICC has decided to declare joint champions in case of a draw in the final Test of World Championship. Although there is a reserve day, it can only be used if a certain time is lost during the scheduled five days of the final. That time is called Net playing time and for every Test that amounts to total 30 hours of play (six hours per day).
Other three Test-playing nations
The remaining three Test-playing nations i.e. Zimbabwe, Afghanistan, and Ireland will not be part of the inaugural World Test Championship. Zimbabwe is currently suspended by the ICC till October for government interference into cricket affairs. Afghanistan and Ireland will play other Test series and the results will be considered for rankings but not be included in the Championship.
July-August 2019: 2 Tests v West Indies (Away)
October-November 2019: 3 Tests v South Africa (Home)
November 2019: 2 Tests v Bangladesh (Home)
February 2020: 2 Tests v New Zealand (Away)
December 2020: 4 Tests v Australia (Away)
January-February 2021: 5 Tests v England (Home)