ICC Test Championship: The arrival of a new era in test cricket

ICC test championship

The 2019-21 ICC Test Championship is the inaugural edition of the ICC World Test Championship. This is the 1st time such an event is taking place. The championship began with the first test of the 2019 Ashes series and will conclude with a final at Lord’s in England on June 2021. If you are a cricket fan, there are a lot of reasons why you need to be excited about this test Championship!

What is ICC Test Championship 2019?

Nine of the twelve test playing nation will participate in this two-year-long tournament. Each team will play six test series, three home and three away. Each test series will consist of anywhere between two to five matches. Each team will be awarded some points depending on the result of the match. At the end of these two years, the top two teams in the table will play at lords. The winner will be crowned ICC Test Championship. If it is a draw, then the title will be shared.

ICC Test Championship Points system

Data collected from ICC website

As you have noticed that although each team will be playing the number of series, the number of matches will differ. For example, Ashes will always have five matches, but other series might not have the same number of matches. Hence, to be fair to everyone, the ICC Test Championship Point system will award 120 points in each series.
For example, in a five test match series, 24 points will be given for a win, while tie will have 12 points, and a draw will result in 8 points. In a two-match series, 60 points will be given on a win, 30 for a tie, and 20 for a draw. Hence, more number of matches doesn’t mean more points but more thrilling matches.

Finally, Competition in Test Matches!

Fans always complain that Test cricket is boring, and teams have no real reason to compete. But with the introduction of this championship, teams now have a purpose to perform well as there is a trophy at stake. Many experts have been saying for a long time that Test cricket is dying with the introduction of the shorter format. This is backed by the fact that fewer people buy tickets for test matches than before.

The concept of test championship was in the pipeline for a long time, ICC previously decided to launch the championship back in 2013 and 2017. But for some reason, they couldn’t. Now that the event is here, test cricket has already seen more traction than before.

The championship is unbalanced!

ICC really did a good job of making the championship fair, but still, the fans have some complaints. The test championship has a two-year period; first of all, not each team will play with each other. Secondly, some teams will have a more comfortable run of form than others.

For instance, India will be playing Australia and England at home while West Indies and Bangladesh away. This is an easier run of form than Australia, who will be playing England away and New Zealand at home. This makes the championship unbalanced as some teams will have a better shot at reaching the top than others. The only thing that ICC can do is increase these two years to a four-year period, but this can make the championship stagnant and hard to follow. Let’s look at some of the series that took place in the championship till now.

Ashes kicked off the ICC Test Championship

The inaugural World Test Championship (WTC) started on August 1 with the age-long rivalry between England and Australia at Edgbaston. The series didn’t disappoint anyone as there were several moments. The hero of the series was none other than Smith; there were moments where it seems like England vs. Smith. While Warner came out as a bunny for Stuart Broad.

Stokes’s second innings performance at Headingley was probably one of the best in this decade. Smith majestic 211 at Manchester was and, if not the best Smith’s performance. Finally, England redeemed themselves and won at Oval to save itself from embarrassment. At the end of the series, both teams ended up with 56 points, and Australia retained the Ashes.

New Zealand draws with Sri Lanka

The World Cup finalist toured Sri Lanka earlier in August, and surprising enough, the series was a hotly contested. Sri Lanka chased a 268, losing only four wickets on a slow pitch on day 5 with the help of Dimuth Karunaratne. But Kane’s New Zealand fought back and won the match with an innings and 65 runs due to centuries from Tom Latham and BJ Watling. Both teams walked away from the series with sixty points.

India sitting at the top of the table

test championship rankings
Data collected from ICC website

India has been sensational in this test championship as they haven’t looked under pressure in there five matches till now. All of there matches have ended with India winning comfortably. It started off with an away tour of West Indies. India won the first match by 318 runs and second match by 257 runs.

Their run continued when the proteas visited India. India won at Vizag by 203 runs, then at Pune by an innings and 137 runs, and finally, the Ranchi test ended by India winning by an innings and 202 runs. India sits at top of the ICC Test Championship rankings with 240 points at the moment. It is clear that India will be a force to reckon with in this championship.

ICC Test Championship schedule

Data collected from ICC website

This is a long tournament, and there is a lot of anticipated series which will excite everyone. Australia will host New Zealand, which will be exciting. While Pakistan will host Bangladesh, which will be an interesting series. India touring New Zealand is another series to look for. So, there is a lot to look for in the championship.

Get Set and Ready for the ICC Test Championship!

These are exciting times for Test crickets and their fans. A lot more people are following the championship and being the leader of test cricket is always seen as a prestige. So, teams will put in extra effort to win the ICC Test Championship.

Photo by Aksh yadav on Unsplash

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