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WTC 2021-23 – ICC confirms points structure for upcoming cycle

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Acting CEO Geoff Allardice said the ICC took on board feedback that the points system needed to be “simplified”

The ICC has confirmed the schedule and points structure of the 2021-23 World Test Championship, which is set to kick off in August with India’s five-Test series in England. As reported by ESPNcricinfo over two weeks ago, points will be awarded on a match-by-match basis as opposed to the series-by-series basis of the 2019-21 cycle, with the teams’ rankings determined by percentage of points won.

“We received feedback that the previous points system needed to be simplified,” the ICC’s acting chief executive Geoff Allardice said in a statement. “The Cricket Committee took this into consideration when proposing a new, standardized points system for each match. It maintained the principle of ensuring that all matches in a WTC series count towards a team’s standing, while accommodating series varying in length between two Tests and five Tests.

“During the pandemic we had to change to ranking teams on the points table using the percentage of available points won by each team, since all series could not be completed. This helped us determine the finalists and we were able to complete the championship within the scheduled time frame. This method also allowed us to compare the relative performance of teams at any time, regardless of how many matches they had played.”

The nine teams in the WTC will play an equal number of series – six (three home and three away) – but an unequal number of Tests, ranging from 22 Tests for England to 12 for Bangladesh. Each Test will carry a total of 12 points, with a win fetching all 12 points, a tie six points and a draw four points.

Three international captains shared their thoughts on the WTC with the ICC.

“It was obviously pretty special to win the inaugural ICC World Test Championship in Southampton last month and it’s exciting to now look ahead to the second edition,” said New Zealand captain Kane Williamson, who lifted the WTC mace after his team beat India in the inaugural final last month. “The WTC has certainly added more context and brought new meaning to Test cricket and it was awesome to see the interest that was generated around the Final against India.

“We know trying to defend the title will be a huge challenge, but our focus will be on making sure we prepare as well as we can for the tours ahead and trying to maintain our level of performance.”

India captain Virat Kohli was enthused by the fans’ receptiveness to the first edition of the WTC.

“It was great to have played the final of the ICC World Test Championship against New Zealand in what was a memorable contest,” he said. “Not just the final, we saw the determination of players throughout the first edition of the championship. The following of cricket lovers too was great to see, and I am sure they will all be waiting eagerly for the second edition.

“We will regroup with new energy for the next cycle starting with our series against England, hoping to give our fans a lot to cheer about.”

Joe Root, the England captain, looked forward to getting his team’s campaign off on a strong note.

“We start our campaign in the second edition of the ICC World Test Championship against the finalists of last time, which is an interesting challenge straight away,” he said. “India are a fine all-round side and it would be good to test them in our home conditions. We narrowly missed out on qualifying for the final last time and are looking to do better this time.

“Test cricket is a format we all want to excel in and with points at stake for each match, everyone has to be at their best all the time.”

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