ICC World Test Championship – All you need to know

What is the World Test Championship?

The ICC World Test Championship is a competition organized by the International Cricket Council (ICC) for Test cricket. It began on August 1, 2019, and aims to be the most prestigious championship for Test cricket. The ICC's objective is to have a premier tournament for each of the three formats of international cricket.

The World Test Championship consists of nine teams competing over a two-year period, culminating in the crowning of an undisputed World Test champion at the end of the league campaign and a final match.

History of the WTC

Initially, the competition was planned to replace the 2013 ICC Champions Trophy in 2009. However, those plans were abandoned. It was rescheduled for June 2017, with a second Test championship scheduled to take place in India in February-March 2021.

The top four ranked teams as of December 31, 2016, according to the ICC, were set to compete in a three-match Test championship. The tournament would have included two semi-finals, with the winners progressing to the final. Unfortunately, the ICC World Test Championship was cancelled in January 2014, and the 2017 ICC Champions Trophy was reinstated.

In October 2017, the ICC announced that its members had agreed upon a Test league. This league would involve the top nine teams playing series over a two-year period, with the top two teams qualifying for a World Test League Championship Final, recognized as an ICC event.

While the league matches of the World Test Championship were not considered ICC events and the broadcasting rights were held by the host nation's cricket board, the WTC finals were regarded as an ICC event. The first ICC World Test Championship began with the 2019 Ashes series and concluded in June 2021, with New Zealand emerging as the champions after defeating India in the final.

The second ICC World Test Championship commenced on August 4, 2021, with the Pataudi Trophy series and is scheduled to conclude with the final match between Australia and India in June 2023.

Although the teams participating in the World Test Championship (WTC) may not have an equal number of matches in the cycle, every team has the opportunity to play six WTC series, consisting of three series at home and three series away.

Who are the contesting teams in the ICC World Test Championship?

There are nine teams in the competition: New Zealand, India, Australia, England, Pakistan, South Africa, West Indies, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.

World Test championship 2023
Photo Credit: Icon Sport

Explaining the WTC points system

Old points system

The scoring system for the second edition of the World Test Championship has undergone significant changes compared to the inaugural edition.

In the 2019-2021 cycle, each Test series carried a total of 120 points, with an equal distribution of points across the matches. This meant that winning a Test in a five-match series would earn a team 24 points, while winning a Test in a two-match series would grant 60 points.

Originally, the plan was for the two teams with the highest total points at the end of the cycle to advance to the final, considering that all teams would play an equal number of series.

However, due to the disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, resulting in major alterations to the Test schedule, it was decided that the standings would be determined based on the percentage of available points collected by each team.

New points system

In the 2021-2023 cycle, the standings in the World Test Championship were once again determined based on the percentage of available points collected. Changes were implemented in the points allocation per Test to ensure uniformity.

Irrespective of the series length, each Test match offered 12 points for a win, four points for a draw, and six points for a tie. As a result, a five-Test series had a total of 60 points available, while a two-Test series could yield a maximum of 24 points.

Similar to the previous edition of the World Test Championship, the teams' rankings were based on the percentage of points they had collected out of the total points available.

This scoring system enabled a fair comparison of teams' relative performance at any given time. It ensured that any cancellations or disruptions of matches or series due to unforeseen circumstances did not directly impact the points table.

Furthermore, the standardized points allocation addressed the imbalance caused by variations in the number of matches played by different teams.

World Test Championship 2019-2021

WTC 2023
Photo Credit: Icon Sport

Most runs:

Player Mat Runs HS Ave 100 50
M Labuschagne (AUS) 13 1675 215 72.82 5 9
JE Root (ENG) 20 1660 228 47.42 3 8
SPD Smith (AUS) 13 1341 211 63.85 4 7
BA Stokes (ENG) 17 1334 176 46 4 6
AM Rahane (IND) 18 1159 115 42.92 3 6

Most wickets:

Player Mat Wkts BBI BBM Ave Econ SR 5
R Ashwin (IND) 14 71 7/145 9/207 20.33 2.62 46.4 4
PJ Cummins (AUS) 14 70 5/28 7/69 21.02 2.64 47.6 1
SCJ Broad (ENG) 17 69 6/31 10/67 20.08 2.77 43.4 2
NM Lyon (AUS) 14 56 6/49 10/118 31.37 2.78 67.5 4
TG Southee (NZ) 11 56 5/32 9/110 20.82 2.7 46.2 3

World Test Championship 2021-23

Most runs:

Player Mat Runs HS Ave 100 50
JE Root (ENG) 22 1915 180* 53.19 8 6
UT Khawaja (AUS) 16 1608 195* 69.91 6 7
Babar Azam (PAK) 14 1527 196 61.08 4 10
M Labuschagne (AUS) 19 1509 204 53.89 5 5
JM Bairstow (ENG) 15 1285 162 51.4 6 2

Most wickets:

Player Mat Wkts BBI BBM Ave Econ SR 5
NM Lyon (AUS) 19 83 8/64 11/99 26.97 2.57 62.8 5
K Rabada (SA) 13 67 6/50 8/89 21.05 3.63 34.8 3
R Ashwin (IND) 13 61 6/91 8/42 19.67 2.48 47.5 2
JM Anderson (ENG) 15 58 5/60 6/62 20.37 2.27 53.7 2
PJ Cummins (AUS) 15 53 5/38 8/79 21.22 2.68 47.3 3




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