The ICC Board on Thursday (November 19) ratified its Cricket Committee’s decision to change the qualification structure for the final of the World Test Championship (WTC). Under the changed system, the WTC league standings would be determined by the percentage of points earned by teams.
What is the change?
The ICC’s Cricket Committee headed by Anil Kumble decided to make the Covid-forced cancelled matches null and void and determine the WTC league standings only from the matches played.
Although the current WTC regulation dictated for points split for abandoned matches, the global body’s Chief Executives’ Committee and the Board ratified the change.
So how will the teams be ranked?
According to the ICC, it will be determined by the percentage of points earned from the matches played. Percentage of points (PCT) is the percentage of points won out of total number of points contested.
For example, India will be facing Australia in a four-Test series Down Under in December-January. Each series is allotted 120 points. So, for a four-Test series, points allotted per Test are 30, 15 and 10 for a win, tie and draw respectively. 📣 Express Explained is now on Telegram
If, for example, India win the series 2-0 with another two Tests being draws, they will get 80 points; 66.67 per cent of the total points contested.
As on date, India have contested for 480 points, notching up 360 points. So their PCT is 0.750 (75%). The final team standings will be determined by the total number of points contested and the total percentage of points won.
Does the change affect India?
Yes. In an updated league table, where PCT is all-important, India have dropped to second position in the team standings.
They were the table-toppers in the old system, with 360 points followed by Australia on 296 points. But Australia’s PCT, 0.822 (82.2%), is higher, for they have won 296 points out of 360 points contested.
Top two teams will qualify for the final, to be played in England in June next year.
What is the reason for the change?
As per the ICC statement, “to date, just under half of the World Test Championship matches have been played”. The pandemic forced the cancellation of six series this season – five series and a Test between Pakistan and Bangladesh to be precise – and the global body has a race against time to complete the cycle by March next year.
The late March to May window is reserved for the Indian Premier League (IPL). As per the original schedule, each team in the ongoing WTC cycle was to play six series. But now, only India are likely to fulfil their quota, as after playing in Australia, they will host England for a five-Test series. India so far have played four series, winning three of them.
Does the change create a level playing field?
The ICC believes it does. “Both the Cricket Committee and Chief Executives Committee supported the approach of ranking teams based on completed matches and points earned as this reflects their performance and doesn’t disadvantage teams that have been unable to compete all of their matches through no fault of their own,” ICC chief executive Manu Sawhney said.
He added: “We explored a whole range of options, but our Members felt strongly that we should proceed as planned with the first ever World Test Championship Final in June next year.”
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