The World Test Championship will be played over a two-year cycle from August 1, 2019 to March 31, 2021. The final will be played in England in June 2021. A total of 71 Tests will be played over 27 series before the final. The next two-year cycle is scheduled from June 2021 to April 30, 2023. Top nine teams on the ICC Test rankings as on March 31, 2018 — Australia, Bangladesh, England, India, New Zealand, Pakistan, South Africa, Sri Lanka and the West Indies are part of the World Test Championship. Zimbabwe, Afghanistan and Ireland are left out.
India are not playing against Pakistan because each team has picked six opponents by mutual agreement, within the existing framework of the Members rights agreements. Accordingly, India would be playing against West Indies, South Africa, Bangladesh, New Zealand, Australia and England. Each team will play three home and three away series in a two-year cycle. India will play away series against West Indies, New Zealand and Australia.
Teams can play Test matches outside the World Test Championship during this period. For example, if India host Zimbabwe next year and play a one-off Test, that won’t be part of the Championship.
In the Test Championship, a series can have a minimum of two matches and a maximum of five matches. Every match will be a five-day affair. Teams can play day-night Tests by mutual agreement.
As for points system, each series will have 120 points. Accordingly, in a two-match series, 60 points will be awarded for a win, 30 points for a tie and 20 points for a draw. No point will be awarded for a defeat. In a three-match series, 40 points will be awarded for a win, 20 points for a tie and 13 points for a draw. In a four-match series, 30 points will be awarded for a win, 15 points for a tie and 10 points for a draw. In a five-match series, 24 points will be awarded for a win, 12 points for a tie and 8 points for a draw.
Apparently, the winners in a two-match series will get a bigger slice of the pie, but five-match series will give a team the opportunity to bounce back from setbacks. All Ashes Tests are five-match affairs, while India will host England for a five-Test series in 2021.
The World Test Championship points table will be independent of the ICC Test rankings. The Test rankings will continue to have 12 teams on the table. Broadcast rights belong to the host cricket board that will organise the series. The ICC, though, will have the broadcast rights for the final.