Teams will be ranked based on the percentage of points earned from completed matches to determine the finalists of the inaugural World Test Championship (WTC) next year, the International Cricket Council (ICC) said on Thursday.
The sport’s global governing body also decided at its board meeting to shift the women’s Twenty20 World Cup, originally scheduled for 2022 in South Africa, to 2023.
The change in WTC rule, prompted by the disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, allowed Australia (82.22%) to leapfrog India (75) to the top of the standings even though Virat Kohli’s men had accumulated more points.
England (60.83) are third, followed by New Zealand (50).
ICC chief executive Manu Sawhney said ranking teams based on points earned from completed matches reflected their performance and “doesn’t disadvantage teams that have been unable to complete all of their matches through no fault of their own”.
The ICC board also decided against extending the WTC cycle to allow teams to complete their quota of matches.
“We explored a whole range of options, but our members felt strongly that we should proceed as planned with the first ever World Test Championship Final in June next year,” Sawhney said.
"We had to assess whether the way in which the finishing positions were determined was fair and we decided to make a change based on the matches that the teams actually play and the percentage of points they win from those matches," elaborated ICC General Manager Geoff Allardice.
"The final is scheduled for June 2021 in the UK and will be proceeding as planned. The finishing positions will now be determined by the percentage of points each team wins from the matches it actually plays. That is to adjust for teams that may not be able to complete all of their series by the end of the competition window."
Six Test series, including four involving Bangladesh, have been postponed or cancelled because of the pandemic.
The nine top Test teams were originally scheduled to play six series each over two years in the WTC, with the top two making the showcase final in London.