The much-awaited Test Championship is upon us and it kicks off with the Ashes series between England and Australia and will be in play for the next two years. In the next two years, 9 teams will play 27 series among themselves and it will consist of 71 Test Matches with the two finalists contesting for the throne at Lord's in June 2021.
So, what is the Test Championship and how is it going to unfold? To know, read on.
What the World Test Championship [WTC]?
According to the ICC, the WTC has been introduced to add importance to bilateral Test cricket -- which many consider is dying. From now on, every Test match played anywhere in the world among the Test-playing nations will count for points. It has been introduced to make Test cricket 'great again' and be the equivalent of a World Cup in the longest format of the game.
What is the format of the WTC and who will take part?
The WTC gets underway on 1 August 2019 and will comprise of the top nine teams in the Test rankings, who will play 71 Test matches in 27 series across two years. Each team will play three home and three away series and the top two teams at the end will play in the ICC World Test Championship Final at Lord's for the crown of being World Test Champions.
A minimum number of matches in a series has to be two while the maximum is five. It can be decided by the member nations among themselves.
How does the points system work?
Each team will play six series and each series will count for 120 points, which will be distributed over the number of matches in a series. A two-match series will have 60 points for each while a three-match series will give 40 points to each Test match. A tie results in 50 per cent points available and a draw will be a 3:1 points ratio.
|MATCHES IN SERIES||POINTS FOR A WIN||POINTS FOR A TIE||POINTS FOR A DRAW||POINTS FOR A LOSS|
Is this a one-time thing?
No. ICC plans to have two-year cycles with the first starting from 1 August 2019 to 31 March 2021 and the second from June 2021 to 30 April 2023.
Are all Test matches part of the WTC?
No. Only matches identified as a part of WTC will count. Any matches featuring any team outside the top-nine will not be a part of the WTC.
Will all teams play the same number of matches?
No. Here are the number of matches each team will play during the next 2 years, starting August 1.
England: 22, Australia: 19, India: 18, South Africa: 16, West Indies: 15, New Zealand: 14, Bangladesh: 14, Pakistan: 13 and Sri Lanka: 13