The International Cricket Council has officially launched the inaugural World Test Championship (WTC), on Monday 29 July 2019.
Getting started from 1 August 2019, the WTC will see the world’s top nine Test teams that include Australia, Bangladesh, England, India, New Zealand, Pakistan, South Africa, Sri Lanka, and the West Indies to compete in 71 Test matches across 27 series, played over two years; The matches will be played just like any bilateral series but with the added context of a competition and one champion team.
The top two teams will contest the ICC World Test Championship Final in June 2021 which is to be played in the UK, and the winners will be crowned ICC World Test Champions.
ICC General Manager – Cricket Operations, Geoff Allardice in a statement said: “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.”
England’s leading test wicket-taker, James Anderson said, “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 purest 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”, James Anderson further added.
India’s skipper, Virat Kohli said, “We are awaiting the ICC World Test Championship with great enthusiasm as it adds context to the longest format of the game”.
He further added, “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”.
Australia Test captain Tim Paine said, “The World Test Championship is a fantastic initiative”.
“We love playing Test cricket, it’s the pinnacle for us, remains hugely popular in Australia and we’re fortunate that it enjoys great support at home among players, the media and the public. To wear the baggy green is the ultimate for all Australian cricketers and if the World Test Championship helps to ensure that all countries make Tests a high priority then that has to be good news for the game in general and the continuing health of the format in particular”, Tim Paine further added.
According to the ICC, 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.
Citing the example, ICC further elaborated that 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.
The matches will be played just like any bilateral series, but with the added context of a competition and one champion team, and will be organized by the Member Boards. Opponents were scheduled by the collective agreement of the competing Members, with a number of the fixtures already committed within existing Member rights agreements.
The number of matches in each series can vary between a minimum of two matches, to a maximum of five matches. The first cycle of the WTC consists of only five-day matches and will include day-night matches, subject to bilateral and mutual agreement between the opponents. Only matches identified as part of the WTC will count towards the championship.
The ICC is responsible for the competition terms and the conduct of cricket, by way of providing match officials and ensuring matches are played as per the laws of the game. The ICC is also responsible for delivery of the ICC World Test Championship final, says the statement.