Sun. Mar 7th, 2021

Some of you must have wondered, while watching any recent Test matches about the World Test Championship (WTC) standings which are on display every once in a while. These rankings are just like the football league standings, but yet, so much more different. Let us explain the new competition in world cricket, the WTC. WTC is said to be introduced ‘to bring context to bilateral Test cricket.’ But how?

What is the WTC?

ICC’s website states: ‘The World Test Championship comprises nine teams competing in 71 Test matches in 27 series across two years. Comprising the top nine Test teams in the world, each team will play three home and three away series. The top two teams at the end will compete in the ICC World Test Championship Final in the UK in June 2021 with the winners crowned World Test Champions.’

This would have explained much of the intent of the Championship. Actually, the WTC was introduced to keep Test match cricket relevant and bring it out of isolation of one-off series. Now all the series’ would be important as there would be Championship Trophy at stake.

What is the time duration of the WTC league stages and the format of the same?

Each team will play six out of their eight opponents over the period of two years in six Test series’. The current cycle of the WTC began from August 2019 and will commence before June 18, 2021, when the Final of the WTC is scheduled to be played. That final would be played between the Top two teams of the league standings of the WTC.

How the league standings decided and what are is the point’s system in WTC?

Each series would carry 120 points. So, if a series has two matches then one match would carry 60 points. A three-match series would mean that each match carries 40 points, 30 points per match in a four-match series and 24 point per match in a five-match series. A tied Test match would give half the total points while a drawn game would give one-third of the total points.

The matches played between the Top nine teams would be considered a part of the WTC. The current teams competing in the WTC are according to the ICC Test rankings as of March 2018. The teams currently in the WTC fray are India, Australia, New Zealand, England, Pakistan, South Africa, Sri Lanka, West Indies and Bangladesh.

Why is the India-England series important in context of WTC?

The final of WTC is supposed to be played on 18 June 2021 and the Top two teams on the WTC league standings would be playing it. Currently, India is on Top of the standings with 71.7% PTC (points earned/points available) and 430 points, while England is fourth with 68.7% PTC and 412 points. This is going to be the last series before the final of the WTC for both teams and there are 120 points up for grabs.

England is only 18 points behind India, so even a 2-1 series result for England would mean that they would surge ahead of India in the WTC rankings. So be part of the first ever WTC, it is imperative for Virat Kohli’s men to have a successful series.

Right now, as on 2 February, there are only four teams; India, New Zealand, Australia and England who have a realistic chance at the WTC.  

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