As Virat Kohli and his chargers wrapped up the 3rd Test against New Zealand in Indore with a day to spare, they had plenty to savour. Apart from the usual accolades that follow the conclusion of a Test series, including the winners’ trophy, the man of the match, the man of the series and other such awards, they also received the ICC Test Championship mace.
It is only the second time in history that an Indian captain has held the Test Championship Mace, with Virat Kohli becoming the second man to do so after MS Dhoni, who had received the Mace following India’s victory against Sri Lanka in 2009. The Mace is awarded to the No.1 ranked team according to the ICC Test Championship.
Also read: Top 5 longest streaks as No.1 ranked team
ICC Test Championship
In order to provide relevance to Test cricket, the ICC introduced a ranking system in the summer of 2003. It was introduced to boost competition, make teams strive hard to be better and thus, improve the overall condition of the game. The basis of such a decision was that when teams are pitted against each other, it creates a sense of rivalry and increased competitiveness.
Since June 2003, the ICC have released ratings at the end of each month. Australia, England, India, South Africa and most recently, Pakistan are the five teams to have sat on top of the team ratings in the 13 years since the introduction of the rating system.
After each Test series, the teams involved secure a certain number of points. These points are divided by the number of matches to give each team a rating, and it is on the basis of this rating, that the teams are ranked.
The team that sits on top of the rankings on the 1st of April every year also receives a whopping cash prize of $1 million (INR 6.7 Crore). With India enjoying a long home season this time around, the $1 million cheque could very well come to Virat Kohli.
Apart from just providing the rankings, the ICC also awards a trophy to the highest ranked team known as the ICC Test Championship Mace. The mace is transferred each time there’s a change at the top of the rankings.
Misbah-ul-Haq of Pakistan made history when he became the first Pakistan captain to win the Test Championship Mace. The glory was to be short lived as, only a month after, he had to relinquish it to Virat Kohli.
The Test Championship Mace
The Test Championship Mace is a glorious trophy that is worthy of its status and is used to highlight the best Test team in the world.
Upon being designated with the task of designing a trophy that would distinguish itself from other cricket trophies, British jewelers Asprey & Gerrard did an admirable job.
The 90 cm trophy is made up entirely of gold and silver. It has its base as a cricket stump, topped with an orb that represents the cricketing world, with an emblem for all the 10 Test playing nations.
The stump and orb are said to be the perfect combination to portray Test cricket as the oldest and purest form of the game.
It is worth £30,000 (24 Lakh INR)
Since the introduction of the ranking system, no team has held it for longer than the Australian cricket team. Between 2003 and August 2009, they were the sole owners of the mace.
A whole number of captains including Steve Waugh, Ricky Ponting, Graeme Smith, MS Dhoni, Misbah-ul-Haq and most recently, Virat Kohli have been awarded the mace.