ICC Test Championship - Things you should know
- The upcoming ICC Test Championship is the latest attempt to make the longest format interesting and profitable
ICC Test Championship was mooted as an idea way back in 2013 but it didn't come to fruition for a long time. The 2013 and 2017 editions were converted into Champions trophy and finally, cricket's governing body decided to start the Test Championship from 2019.
The Ashes (England Vs Australia) and India's tour of West Indies next month will kick off the championship. The main motive of this championship structure is to give greater context to bilateral matches. Till now, Test and other forms of bilateral cricket were being played without any reward/penalty. This was especially the case during dead rubber matches (matches which are left in a series after a particular team has won already). For 50-overs cricket, an ODI league has been created similarly to give more context and also to act as a qualification pathway for the ICC Cricket World Cup in 2023.
However, considering that the ODI league is a year away from now, it would be prudent to mainly focus on the Test Championship.
So, what is the format and the rules governing this Test Championship?
The championship will be played over a period of two years. Each team will play six different teams (three at home and three away). These series' can involve matches ranging from two to five Tests.
After the league stage comes to end, the top teams in the table will contest the final of the Test championship in England in June 2021.
Scoring in the Test championship
Since all the series' won't consist of the same number of matches, the ICC has tried to make sure that teams who play a lesser number of matches don't get affected by the points system. As a result, points for each series has been capped at 120. In a two-match series, each win will fetch 60 points whereas 20 points will be awarded for each win in case a five-match series is played.
If a Test match gets tied, then both the competing teams will get half the points that would have been available for a win. For a draw, one by third of the points that would have been available for a win will be given to each team. This has been done to discourage teams who play to draw matches.
Recently, ICC also announced that teams will lose two points for every over that is bowled beyond the regulation time. This has been done to avoid incredibly slow over-rates in the past few years.
On the whole, the upcoming Test championship promises to be an engrossing one for both the players and fans with the game's governing body always on the lookout for ways to make Test cricket marketable.