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Decoding the Battle: Unveiling the Structure & Format of the World Test Championship

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Cricket, the beloved sport of millions, has witnessed a remarkable transformation with the advent of the World Test Championship (WTC). Conceived by the International Cricket Council (ICC), the WTC has breathed new life into Test cricket, the longest and most traditional form of the game. In this blog, we will dive into the captivating structure and format of the World Test Championship, shedding light on the progressive evolution of its points system over the years.

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The concept of a Test championship was initially introduced by the ICC in 1999, but it took more than two decades for this vision to materialize. The inaugural edition of the World Test Championship finally took flight in August 2019, marking a significant milestone in the cricketing realm. This championship aimed to infuse greater context and excitement into Test matches, enriching the experience for players and fans alike.

WTC Structure

Unveiling the Structure & Format of the World Test Championship | KreedOn
Image Source- TOI

The World Test Championship revolves around bilateral Test series between different nations. Over the course of a two-year cycle, teams engage in a series of Test matches against each other, both at home and away venues. The number of matches in each series may vary, ensuring a diverse range of cricketing encounters.

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The accumulation of points from various Test series determines the league standings throughout the championship. Teams are ranked based on the total number of points they gather, with the percentage of points earned serving as a tiebreaker if required. The league standings provide an ongoing narrative, creating an enthralling competition as teams vie for a place in the final.

WTC Points System

Unveiling the Structure & Format of the World Test Championship | KreedOn
Image Source- TOI

Evolution of the Points System

PhasePoints SystemKey Features
Initial PhaseFixed Points– Each Test series awarded a fixed number of points (e.g., 120)
(2019-2020)– Points divided equally among the matches within the series
– Same weightage for each match
Points SystemPercentage-based Approach– Points calculated based on the percentage of matches won
Overhaul(2020-2021)– Addressed the challenge of varying series lengths
– Emphasized the importance of winning matches
– Increased competitiveness
Points SystemPercentage of Points System– Each match assigned a fixed number of points (e.g., 12)
Revisited(2021-2023)– Points divided based on the percentage of total points earned
– Equal weightage for each match, regardless of series length
– Ensured fairness and competitiveness

The points system plays a pivotal role in determining the teams’ standings and progress within the World Test Championship. Let’s embark on a journey through the progressive changes that have taken place within the points system since the championship’s inception.


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Phase 1: Initial Points System (2019-2020)

During the first phase of the World Test Championship, a straightforward points system was employed. Each Test series was assigned a fixed number of points, typically 120, regardless of the number of matches played within the series. These points were then divided equally among the matches, ensuring that each match carried the same weightage in terms of points.

Phase 2: Points System Overhaul (2020-2021)

Following the completion of the inaugural cycle of the championship, the ICC meticulously analyzed the strengths and weaknesses of the points system. Taking into consideration feedback from players, fans, and experts, the ICC decided to revamp the structure to address certain concerns.

The new points system introduced a percentage-based approach to instill fairness, considering the varying lengths of the Test series. Under this revised system, the points awarded in a series were calculated by multiplying the total points available for the series by the percentage of matches won by a team. For example, in a two-match series with a total of 120 points, a team winning one match would receive 60 points (50% of 120).

This modification aimed to reward teams for their match victories, emphasizing the importance of winning rather than merely drawing matches. Moreover, it acknowledged the challenges faced by teams playing Test series of varying lengths.

Phase 3: Points System Revisited (2021-2023)

In November 2021, the ICC revisited the points system once again, striving to further enhance the championship’s structure. The most significant change introduced during this phase was the implementation of the “percentage of points” system.

Under the revised points system, each Test match is allocated a fixed number of points, typically 12. These points are then distributed between the two competing teams based on the percentage of total points they accumulate throughout the series. For instance, if Team A accumulates 360 points in a series while Team B earns 240 points, Team A would receive 60% of the points (7.2 points) and Team B would receive 40% of the points (4.8 points).

This modification addresses the challenges posed by Test series of differing lengths, ensuring that each match holds equal weightage regardless of the series duration. The revised system amplifies the competitiveness of each Test match, intensifying the battle among teams as they strive to secure crucial points en route to qualifying for the final.


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The Grand Finale: WTC

At the culmination of the two-year cycle, the top two teams in the league standings qualify for the highly anticipated World Test Championship Final. This one-off match takes place at a neutral venue, adding to the intrigue and excitement. If feasible, the team that finishes at the top of the league standings also gains the advantage of hosting the final.
New Zealand was the winners of the first cycle of the World Test Championship (2019-2021). Meanwhile, India and Australia are battling out for the final in the second edition.

Conclusion

In conclusion, the World Test Championship has revolutionized the landscape of Test cricket, infusing it with renewed purpose and excitement. The evolution of the points system reflects the ICC‘s commitment to enhancing the championship’s competitiveness and ensuring fairness. As the tournament progresses, cricket enthusiasts eagerly await the crowning of the ultimate World Test Champions, marking another chapter in the glorious history of the sport.


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