The much-anticipated World Test Championship has finally gotten underway with the renewal of the fabled Ashes rivalry between Australia and England. Following the World Cup and the T20 World Cup, Test cricket has also got the status of a championship with teams vying to battle it out to gain the number one ranking.
The Test Championship, which has been in the pipeline for almost a decade, has been introduced to add context to bilateral series and pique interest among fans for the longest format that has long been experiencing dwindling viewership numbers.
The grand competition began on August 1, 2019 and will complete a two-year cycle before the top two teams clash in the final at Lord’s in June 2021. The tournament will include nine participants – Australia, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, India, Pakistan, England, New Zealand, South Africa and West Indies.
The two-year period will cover 71 Test matches played out across 27 series with each team playing three home and three home series. The matches in one series can vary from 2 to 5 games but the amount of points acquired in any one series remains the same (120) regardless of the number of Test encounters.
England will play the most number of matches in the Test Championship (22) while Pakistan and Sri Lanka will participate in the least number of games (13). The points for a draw will be one-third of the total points awarded for a win to both the competing sides.
Cognizant of the World Cup final controversy where the winner was decided on the basis of a mere technicality of a boundary count, if the World Test Championship final ends in a draw or tie, the team with greater number of points in the league phase will keep the trophy.