It won’t be much wrong to say that the introduction of the ICC World Test Championship gave a new relevance to the longest format of the game. With a world title being at stake, teams were even more determined to win Test matches. As a result, the inaugural edition of the World Test Championship (2019-2021) saw some exciting action between the willow and the red cherry.
From Ashes 2019 to Australia’s tussle against India, many mind-boggling Test series were played in the inaugural competition. The prestigious crown was eventually lifted by New Zealand as the Kane Williamson-led side defeated Virat Kohli’s India in the final clash by eight wickets. With the first edition coming to an end, the focus has now been shifted to the next World Test Championship cycle which spans from 2021 to 2023.
As all the teams are now aware of the drill of the competition, one can expect to see even close combats in the second WTC cycle. Like the previous edition, nine teams will lock horns for the undisputed crown of World Test Champions. Although the format remains the same, the International Cricket Council (ICC) has done some tinkering with the points system.
In the 2019-2021 cycle, every Test series had 120 points at stakes, which were divided equally across the matches. This meant a team would earn 60 points for winning a Test encounter in a two-match series. However, if a series comprises five matches, only 24 points were up for grabs in each game. At first, two teams with the most points were supposed to take the field in the finals.
However, the unfortunate COVID-19 pandemic came into the picture and many series got postponed or canceled. Hence, the grading system was tweaked and it was decided that the percentage of available points collected would determine the standings. Percentage will once again be the criteria of the points table in the 2021-23 cycle but the amount of points available per Test has been made uniform.
Regardless of the length of the series, each Test match will now see 12 points awarded for a victory, four for a draw, and six for tie, and nothing for defeat. Notably, each team will play three home and three away series in this cycle. The competition went underway with England’s home Test series against India in August.
*Last updated on 6th December