ICC World Test Championships 2019-21: All You Need To Know About The Latest Global Event
With the one major cricketing event- the International Cricket Council (ICC) Cricket World Cup 2019 having concluded, the international cricket board is getting ready to launch its latest format of world championships, i.e, the ICC World Test Championship (WTC).
ICC has been hosting cricket world cups for limited over-format of the game, despite test matches has been the oldest format of cricket. Until now, there has not been a single event in test format featuring multiple teams. However, that changes in 2019.
Nine Teams, Two Years, 27 Series, 72 Test Matches, One Champion. This will be the first edition of the World Test Championships.
ICC’s first attempt to organise the test world cup was in 2009. ICC held talks with the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) proposing the test championships. After consideration from the ICC Chief Executives’ Committee, the first WTC was supposed to be held in England and Wales in 2013.
However, the tournament was later cancelled over formatting issues, and would not be held until 2017. The ICC Chief Executives’ Committee had announced in 2012 that the WTC would replace the ICC Champions Trophy, with 2013 as the last edition.
The inaugural edition of the WTC was scheduled for 2017, as the ICC said there could be only one trophy for each format- 50 over (ICC Cricket World Cup), 20 over (ICC T20 World Cup), and unlimited over cricket (WTC). However, the tournament was cancelled again and the ICC Champions Trophy 2017 was reinstated.
Finally, the World Test Championship will start from 1 August 2019 when England welcome Australia in the Ashes.
Top nine-ranked test teams (standings as on 31 March 2018)- Australia, Bangladesh, England, India, New Zealand, Pakistan, South Africa, Sri Lanka and the West Indies will compete for the top trophy of the oldest format of the ‘Gentlemen’s Game’.
The ICC WTC will be played across two years- 2019 to 2021. The matches will be played as bilateral series, with the added context of a single competition and one winner.
The nine teams will play six of eight opponents in bilateral series, (three home, three away). The number of matches in each series will vary from a minimum of two matches to a maximum of five matches (decided between the teams before the start of the TWC).
The ICC has also made it clear that matches against teams out of the top nine, i.e- Afghanistan, Ireland and Zimbabwe, will not be part of the test championships. Each test match will be scheduled over five days and day-night test matches can be played if the two teams mutually agree.
As told earlier, the WTC will begin with England taking on Australia in Birmingham. Following is the complete list of fixtures of test matches to be played in the next two years.
The points system for winning a test match, tie-match and a draw match all differ according to the number of matches in a series. However, there will no points’ deduction for losing.
According to the points system set by the ICC, points awarded for a victory, tie or draw will be the highest in a two-test match series. As the number of matches in a series will increase, the points awarded for a victory, tie or draw will get lower.
The points table of the WTC will be separate, and not interfere with the independent team rankings. The points system is illustrated below.
With the end of the last series in 2021, the top two teams on the table calculated on basis of the points system will feature in the ICC World Test Championship finals, which will be played on June 2021 to be played in the United Kingdom (UK). The winner of the finals will be crowned as the ICC World Test Champions.
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