Here's how the World Test Championship finalists will be decided
The ICC Cricket Committee has devised a new way to decide the finalists for the World Test Championship. Under this method, the two finalists will be decided by the percentage of points they have earned during the league cycle. Notably, the option has been chosen after the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted the championship. However, the final approval will be given by the Chief Executives' Committee.
The other option was to treat Tests not played due to the pandemic as draws, and split the points. However, this has been ruled out. While selecting the new option, there was an acknowledgment that the "least bad" option had to be found.
According to the schedule, each team had to play three home and as many away series. Each series fetches 120 points, distributed over the number of matches. A minimum of two and a maximum of five Tests could be played in a series. In the case of a draw or a tie in the final, the two teams playing will be declared the joint-champions.
As per the format, the top-nine Test teams were supposed to compete in 71 Test matches, across 27 series. The matches were scheduled to be played over two years, with the top two teams vying for the ICC WTC final in June 2021 at Lord's.
India are currently leading the World Test Championship (WTC) standings with 360 points. They have won seven and lost two Test matches, so far. The Virat Kohli-led side is followed by Australia (296), England (292) and New Zealand (180) on the table. Meanwhile, the bottom half is occupied by Pakistan (166), Sri Lanka (80), West Indies (40), South Africa (24), and Bangladesh (0), respectively.
The particular approach will present New Zealand with a better opportunity to finish in the top-two. This can happen if they claim a maximum of 240 points from their two home series against West Indies and Pakistan. With this, the Kiwis could get to 70 percent of the points earned. This improves their chances compared to England and Australia.
The forthcoming series (Australia vs India and India vs England) could play a crucial role in deciding the finalists. Notably, both of them have four or more Tests. If the presently-postponed series between England and Sri Lanka gets rescheduled, it could also have an impact. As of now, only India and England have a chance of playing all six of their respective WTC series.
If Australia win all four home Tests against India, they will surge to 86.67 percent. Besides, if they lose both Tests to South Africa (if the series takes place), their percentage will drop to 69.33. On the other hand, if India lose all four Tests to Australia and win five against England, they will take home the required 480 points (66.67%).
India's tour of Australia will begin on November 27 with the white-ball fixtures, followed by the Border-Gavaskar Trophy. However, Indian captain Virat Kohli will fly back after the first Test, to attend the birth of his child. Team India will certainly miss his services in the Test series. Under him, they became the first Asian side to win a Test series Down Under (2018/19).