What is the World Test Championship? History, Format, & Points System Explained

As the T20 format was eclipsing new heights in the cricket world, the sport’s elite format, Test cricket, was grappling with a lack of interest among fans. To overcome this dire situation, the International Cricket Council (ICC) decided to infuse more fuel into the format by starting a dedicated world championship.

And that’s how the World Test Championship (WTC) came into the picture — to revive the larger interest of traditional as well as young cricket fans.

In this article, we’ll provide you with a rundown of the ICC World Test Championship.

How World Test Championship Came To Be?

The pathway to commissioning the WTC wasn’t easy. Former World Cup-winning captain Clive Lloyd first came up with the proposal of having a Test Championship back in 1996, but nothing major happened after that.

As the first decade of the 21st century was coming to a close, the ICC held discussions with the guardians of cricket, the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC), regarding a championship. Then in 2010, the apex bodies, along with member boards, started contemplating the format and teams that would participate in the competition.

But nothing materialised towards establishing a world tournament until 2018. After much back and forth, the WTC kicked off in August 2019 with the Ashes Series in England.

World Test Championship: Teams and Format

As of now, 12 full-member teams have Test status, which means they can play the longest format at the international level. However, only 9 top-ranked teams participate in the competition.

The participating teams in the World Test Championship are:

  1. Australia
  2. Bangladesh
  3. England
  4. India
  5. New Zealand
  6. Pakistan
  7. South Africa
  8. Sri Lanka
  9. West Indies

Speaking about the format, each team plays 3 home and 3 away Test series over 2 years. That means each team plays against 6 different opponents.

But each team doesn’t play the same number of Tests, as the number varies depending on the agreement between 2 member boards.

World Test Championship: Points System

Now, let’s take a look at the WTC’s points system.

In the first WTC cycle, each series carried a maximum of 120 points, with the points further divided based on the number of matches. If a series consisted of 2 matches, then each match was worth 60 points. But, as the matches increased in a series, the winning points decreased per match.

Since this was unfair to the teams that played 4 or 5-match series, the ICC came up with a new points system in the second cycle. Rather than having the same points for varying Test series, the points are given based on each match.

If a team wins a match, they get 12 points. If the match ends in a tie, both teams share 6 points. While a drawn Test match results in both teams getting 4 points.

But, even after the points system overhaul, the ICC introduced the winning percentage to determine the standings. You can check out our guide on the same here.

Final Words

The WTC has helped revive the Test format to a greater extent. Now bilateral series have a bit more context, pushing teams to give their best to secure a spot in the final.

As the sport evolves, we can only expect to witness thrillers unfolding in the red-ball format, with other members also making their presence in the competition.

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