Australia's SA tour postponed: Decoding the ICC WTC qualification scenario
Australia have pulled out of the South African tour comprising three Tests, which was scheduled in March, due to the COVID-19 outburst. Notably, the series that was a part of the ICC World Test Championship will be rescheduled at a later date this year. The postponement has impacted the qualification scenario to a great extent. We take a look at the same.
New Zealand become the first team to qualify for final
As a result, New Zealand have officially become the first team to qualify for the ICC World Test Championship final, which is set to take place at the Lord's Cricket Ground in June. Both India and England, which are set to compete in the four-Test series, remain in contention to be the second finalists. Meanwhile, Australia too are still in the race.
Team India presently leads the ICC WTC standings
Team India continues to lead the ICC WTC points table with maximum points percentage (71.7), following a historic series win Down Under. They are followed by New Zealand (70.0), Australia (69.2) and England (68.7). Notably, the remaining teams, Pakistan, South Africa, Sri Lanka, West Indies and Bangladesh will not be able to reach the final even if they win all their remaining fixtures.
What chances do Australia have?
Since Australia won't get to play their final Test series of the championship, they remain on number three behind New Zealand. Now, their qualification berth relies on the India-England Test series. Australia can only qualify if the four-match series gets drawn (by any margin), or England win 1-0, 2-0, or 2-1. They will sail through even if India win 1-0.
How can India qualify for the final?
It all comes down to the Test series between India and England. Whichever team tops Australia's 69.2 points percentage, will qualify for the final. India (71.7%) require 70 points and need to win by a margin of at least 2-1 in order to do so. If they lose the series by any margin, either England or Australia will qualify, considering their points percentage.
England need to win three Tests against India
England (68.7%) are fourth on the table and need to win at least three Tests against India for securing the qualification berth. They require a minimum of 87 points to get past Australia. The Joe Root-led side will have to defy the odds as the last touring side to have won three Tests in a series in India were the West Indies (1983/84).