ICC announces new World Test Championship new cycle; no Indo-Pak bilateral series

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The challenge to New Zealand's maiden ICC WTC title will begin with the upcoming England-India series
The challenge to New Zealand's maiden ICC WTC title will begin with the upcoming England-India series.

The second cycle of International Cricket Council’s World Test Championship will also not feature an India-Pakistan bilateral series. The Indian establishment has prohibited any bilateral sport with Pakistan since the latter has been harbouring terrorism to cause unrest in India.

The WTC second cycle will commence with the upcoming England-India five-Test series. The first match is slated at the Trent Bridge, Nottingham.

During the next two-year cycle, India will play home series against Sri Lanka, New Zealand and Australia. The away series will include the five-Tests against England, Bangladesh and South Africa.

As in the first edition of the championship, the nine teams will play six series each, three home and three away with the cut-off date being 31 March 2023.

The ICC has also confirmed the revised points system for the 2021-2023 cycle. Each match of the upcoming WTC will now be contested for the same number of points – 12 for a win, four for a draw and six for a tie, moving away from the previous system where the same number of points were allocated to each series, divided across the number of matches played.

ICC Acting Chief Executive Geoff Allardice said the changes had been made to simplify the points system while taking learnings from the disruption last year.

“We received feedback that the previous points system needed to be simplified. 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.”

“It was great to have played the final of the ICC World Test Championship against New Zealand in what was a memorable contest. Not just the final, we saw the determination of players throughout the first edition of the championship,” India captain Virat Kohli said.

“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.”