World Test Championship: Adding context to Test cricket

Why is the Ashes the most riveting of all rivalries in Test cricket? Why does an India-Pakistan match bring out the best of the emotions from not just fans of their respective teams, but from fans all across the globe as well? Well, there is context to it; similar to the the famed rivalries of Roger Federer-Rafael Nadal, Mohammad Ali-Joe Fraizer, All Blacks-Springboks etc have context.

Test cricket, apart from the Ashes, played between England and Australia, have struggled to find context over the years. But, with the launch of the World Test Championship, starting from July 15 2019 to April 30 2021 (the inaugural edition), the governing body of the sport, the International Cricket Council (ICC), is trying to make the bilateral Test series meaningful, with the teams vying to win the Championship.

And  fittingly, the first cycle of the World Test Championship starts with the Ashes 2019, starting from 1st August with the 50-over World Champions England trying to reclaim the ‘úrn’ from Australia at home. ALSO READ: World Test Championship: India to begin campaign in West Indies

 


 

Here’s everything you need to know about the World Test Championship: 

What is World Test Championship?

ICC’s two-year Championship tourney for Test cricket. The first cycle is from 2019-2021.

How many teams are participating?

While ICC have granted full-member status to Ireland and Afghanistan recently, only nine Test playing teams out of 12 will be participating in the two-year period. Australia, England, India, New Zealand, Pakistan, South Africa, Sri Lanka, West Indies and Bangladesh. ALSO READ: Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane, Prithvi Shaw among seven Indian players to play County cricket before World Test Championship

Format and Final?

During the two-year window the nine teams will play a total of 27 series – three away and three home series -comprising of a minimum of two Tests and maximum of five. The top two teams at the top of the points tally will play in the final from June 14-20 in 2021. ALSO READ: ICC announce comprehensive FTP, Test Championship included

In case of draw or tie in the final? 

In case of a draw or a tie in the final, the team that finished the league stages as leaders will claim the Test championship. The venue for the final is yet to be decided, but most likely it will be held in England.

Schedule

Even as the Ashes mark the tournament’s launch, the Windies are set to tour India, and New Zealand host Sri Lanka, both in July, making for a hectic start to the new tournament.

India

July-August 2019: Two away Tests in West Indies

October-November 2019: Three home Tests against South Africa

November 2019: Two home Tests against Bangladesh

February 2020: Two away Tests in New Zealand

December 2020: Four away Tests in Australia

January-February 2021: Five home Tests against England

England

July-August 2019: Five Ashes Tests at home against Australia

December 2019-January 2020: Four away Tests in South Africa

March 2020: Two away Tests in Sri Lanka

June-July 2020: Three home Tests against Windies

July-August 2020: Three home Tests against Pakistan

January-February 2021: Five away Tests in India

Australia

July-August-September 2019: Five Ashes Tests away in England

November 2019: Two home Tests against Pakistan

December 2019-January 2020: Three home Tests against New Zealand

February 2020: Two away Tests against Bangladesh

November-December 2020: Four home Tests against India

February-March 2021: Three away Tests against South Africa

South Africa

October 2019: Three away Tests in India

December 2019-January 2020 – Four home Tests against England

July-August 2020: Two away Tests in West Indies

January 2021: Two home Tests against Sri Lanka

January-February 2021: Two away Tests against Pakistan

February-March 2021: Three home Tests against Australia

New Zealand

July-August 2019: Two away Tests in Sri Lanka

December 2019-January 2020: Three away Tests in Australia

February 2020: Two home Tests against India

August-September 2020: Two away Tests in Bangladesh

November-December 2020: Three home Tests against Windies

December 2020: Two home Tests against Pakistan

Sri Lanka

July-August 2019: Two home Tests against New Zealand

October 2019: Two away Tests against Pakistan

March-April 2020: Two home Tests against England

July-August 2020: Three home Tests against Bangladesh

January 2021: Two away Tests in South Africa

February-March 2021: Two away Tests in West Indies

Pakistan

October 2019: Two home Tests against Sri Lanka

November-December 2019: Two away Tests in Australia

January-February 2020: Two home Tests against Bangladesh

July-August 2020: Three away Tests in England

December 2020: Two away Tests in New Zealand

January-February 2021: Two home Tests against South Africa

Bangladesh

November 2019: Two away Tests in India

January-February 2020: Two away Tests in Pakistan

February 2020: Two home Tests against Australia

July-August 2020: Three away Tests in Sri Lanka

August-September 2020: Two home Tests against New Zealand

January-February 2021: Three home Tests against Windies

West Indies

July-August 2019: Two home Tests against India

June-July 2020: Three away Tests in England

July-August 2020: Two home Tests against South Africa

November-December 2020: Three away Tests in New Zealand

January-February 2021: Three away Tests in Bangladesh

February-March 2021: Two home Tests in Sri Lanka