World Test Championship – What You Need To Know
The ICC World Test Championship is a relatively new competition which has been established to make international Test Match cricket more competitive. The leading cricket nations compete against each other over a two-year period and they are ranked in a league table according to overall performance. The ICC have long made it their target to have a uniform style of competition that can be adopted when it comes to Test Match, One Day International and Twenty20 format.
In October 2017, things started to come to fruition when there was an announcement that the leading nine cricket nations would play in a championship. The leading two teams in the standings would then go through to a World Test League Championship Final.
As you might expect, there is the opportunity to bet on all the Test Series’ that comprise this competition and it includes events such as The Ashes.
The Format of the World Test Championship
The tournament consists of nine of the twelve Test playing nations with Afghanistan, Ireland, and Zimbabwe being the nations that miss out. Each team is scheduled to play six of the available eight opponents. A series against one opponent could be as few as two matches and as many as five matches, with each nation having three Test series at home and three on their travels.
The tournament is played across two years and after the teams have played all their Test series over the two-year cycle, the top two teams in the league table progress to the final at a neutral venue organised by the ICC.
To determine the standings in the league table a point scoring system for matches is put in place. However, between the first and second edition of the tournament, the point scoring system changed. So, at the time of writing, the point scoring system for the 2021-2023 tournament (it is also expected to be the same for the 2023-2025 tournament) works as follows.
12 points are available for every match regardless of how many matches are in a series. A win is worth all 12 points, a tie is worth 6 points, a draw is worth 4 points, and a loss is worth 0 points. Points are also able to be deducted from teams if they don’t meet the required over rate at the end of the match. Teams are then ranked in the league table based on percentage of total points won out of total points contested.
The History of the World Test Championship
The World Test Championship is a recent innovation, and the first competition took place between 2019 and 2021. To kick things off, the First Test of the 2019 Ashes Series was the opening match of the tournament.
Following the 2-year period, despite interruptions to the schedule due to the COVID-19 pandemic, New Zealand and India were the top 2 teams in the group standings which meant they both qualified to play in the final at the Rose Bowl in Southampton, England in June 2021. In a rain-affected and low-scoring match the underdogs, New Zealand, were crowned the inaugural World Test Championship Champions. New Zealand won the match by 8 wickets and their young, big fast bowler, Kyle Jamieson was named player of the match.
Following the final, the 2021-2023 World Test Championship began where England and India faced off in a 5-match Test series. A slight change was introduced for the second edition of the tournament where a new points scoring system was introduced. At the time of writing Australia and South Africa occupy the top two spots in the standings, but Pakistan, West Indies, Sri Lanka and India are all still in contention. The final is to be played at The Oval in London, England in June 2023.
After the 2021-2023 final, the cycle of the 2023-2025 World Test Championship will begin with the 1st Ashes Test in June 2023. The ICC announced that the final of this – the tournament’s third edition – will be played at Lord’s in the English summer of 2025.
The World Test Championship Teams
Australia are one of the most famous cricket nations and they have enjoyed Test accreditation since 1877. They have been a member of ICC since 1909 and this team enjoy the most famous rivalry in cricket when they clash with England in The Ashes.
Bangladesh are known as the Tigers or Bangla Tigers and they are a more recent Test competitor. Having achieved associate member status in 1977, they became a Full Member in 2000 and they will hope to improve on their ninth placed finish in the 2019-2021 World Test Championship.
The England cricket team have a long and proud history, with this nation one of the first two countries to play a Test Match when they clashed with Australia in 1877. In addition to South Africa, these nations also helped form the Imperial Cricket Conference, with England having played over 1,000 Test Matches.
India have been a fearsome Test Match cricket nation for several decades and they have regularly achieved number one ranked status throughout their history. They have been operating in Tests since 1931 and they were runners-up in the inaugural ICC World Test Championship.
New Zealand have enjoyed plenty of success throughout their Test Match history, with the team acquiring Test status in 1930 and their first ever match was against England in Christchurch. They have played in nearly 500 matches and won the World Test Championship in 2021.
Pakistan achieved full member status in 1952, with this nation playing their first Test against India in Delhi, with this taking place in October of that year. They finished in sixth place when competing in the 2019-2021 World Test Championship.
South Africa are one of the longest-standing Test teams, with the Proteas having formed a triumvirate with England and Australia in the 19th century. They played their first ever Test against the former in Port Elizabeth, with the team finishing fifth between 2019-2021.
Sri Lanka are a proud Test nation who have had international Test status since 1981. They made their Test Match debut when clashing against England in Colombo in February 1982, with the team finishing seventh in the first competition.
The West Indies are also known as the Windies and they’ve been in operation since 1926. They played their first ever Test Match between 23-26 June 1928 when meeting England at Lord’s, with the West Indies having won the ICC Champions Trophy in 2004.