#NewsBytesExplainer: What will happen to ICC World Test Championship?
The coronavirus pandemic has taken a toll on the international cricket calendar with several bilateral series getting postponed. Reportedly, the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) wants ICC to extend the World Test Championship cycle. The cricket board is vouching for a cycle extension as Bangladesh have missed as many as eight Tests so far, owing to coronavirus pandemic. Here is more on the same.
ICC launched the inaugural WTC in 2019
The International Cricket Council (ICC) launched the inaugural World Test Championship (WTC) in July, last year. 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 World Test Championship Final in June 2021.
More details on the format
According to the schedule, each team had to play three home and three away series. Each series fetches 120 points, distributed over the number of matches in a series. A tie counts 50 per cent of the total points available, while a draw will be a 3:1 points ratio. A minimum two and maximum five Tests could be played in a series.
The pandemic has stalled several bilateral series
Bangladesh's upcoming tour of Sri Lanka was recently postponed due to coronavirus outbreak. Earlier, New Zealand also decided to cancel their Bangladesh tour. The pandemic led to suspension of the two-match series between Australia and Bangladesh. England's tour of Sri Lanka, which comprised two Test matches was called-off too. Meanwhile, the next three-match series is scheduled between England and West Indies.
Will the extension solve the problem?
BCB chief executive Nizamuddin Chowdhury said even if the cycle gets extended, it will impact the future series. "If the Test Championship final date gets extended, then maybe there will be a chance but even after the extension, even if there is an opportunity, it will have an impact on other schedules as well because we have a compact schedule until 2023," he concluded.
India lead the ICC WTC standings
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), New Zealand (180) and England (146) in the table.
The postponed Tests look unlikely to be rescheduled
Looking at the schedule, there will be little scope to reschedule the Tests, if the World Test Championship goes ahead as planned. The teams, which miss out on crucial Tests, will find it difficult to contest for the summit clash. Hence, the purpose of staging the Championship final will be defeated as there is a huge lead between the top four teams and rest.