The International Cricket Council (ICC) has unveiled plans for the inaugural World Test Championship (WTC).
Commencing on 1 August 2019, the WTC will see the top nine Test teams in the world – Australia, Bangladesh, England, India, New Zealand, Pakistan, South Africa, Sri Lanka and the West Indies – compete in 71 Test matches across 27 series, played over two years; with the top two teams contesting the ICC World Test Championship Final in June 2021 and the winners crowned ICC World Test Champions.
The ICC also revealed that the much anticipated tournament final, will take place in the UK, following the successful ODI tournament that took place in the country earlier this year.
Geoff Allardice, ICC General Manager – Cricket Operations commented: “The ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup this summer showed just how important it is for every game to count and for the world’s best teams to go head-to-head. The World Test Championship will bring relevance and context to bilateral Test cricket over the next two years, creating a pinnacle event for the five-day format, just as the World Cups for men and women do in the ODI and T20I formats.”
The matches will be played just like any bilateral series, but with the added context of a competition and one champion team with points available for every single game, each team will play three home and three away series. Each series counts for 120 points, distributed over the number of matches in a series.
For example, a two-match series will mean 60 points for each Test while a three-match series will give 40 points to each Test match. A tie will be 50% of the points available, whilst a draw will be a 3:1 points ratio.
England’s leading test wicket-taker, James Anderson lauded the idea: “Test cricket is the pinnacle of our sport. It is the very essence of cricket and the majority of players want to strive to play the purist form of the game. The ICC World Test Championship is another brilliant initiative for the sport, adding context and relevance to every Test series. Every Test matters, but even more so now.”
India’s skipper, Virat Kohli also expressed excitement over the plans, stating: “We are awaiting the ICC World Test Championship with great enthusiasm as it adds context to the longest format of the game. Test cricket is very challenging and coming out on top in the traditional form is always highly satisfying. The Indian team has done really well in recent years and will be fancying its chances in the championship.”