The inaugural season of the World Test Championship is about to come to its conclusion with India and New Zealand, two teams that finished in the top two positions of the table, playing in the prestigious final. The journey of the World Test Championship began in 2019 and in two years the tournament has more or less achieved what the International Cricket Council (ICC) set out for.
There is no doubt that this is the way forward for the longest format of the game. However, there are a few tweaks required to take it to another level. Here are the things which worked and which didn’t in the first season of the World Test Championship.
Gave Test Cricket Much Context
The main intention of introducing the Championship was to bring more context to Test cricket all over the world. That has for sure been achieved in the first season itself. There weren’t many Test matches in this Championship that lacked context and every team had plenty to play for in these two years. Teams were fighting for points in every session and every ball meant something in these matches. Just ask Tim Paine if he regrets his slow over rate in Melbourne against India which eventually cost his team a place in the World Test Championship Final.
Boards Gave Test Cricket Priority
It became pretty apparent that cricket boards all over the world started giving Test cricket the priority when it came to team selection as the prize money involved in the final is a substantial amount and no board would want to miss out on that cash influx. Players were given a rest in the limited-overs format while the Test teams were packed by A-listers.
WHAT DIDN’T WORK?
All Teams Need to Play Equal Number of Games
The biggest concern for the cricket fans is that the 10 teams involved in this Championship didn’t play the same number of games over the span of two years. Just take the example of New Zealand, the team which made the final. They played just 11 matches during these two years which is the least among the top eight teams in the Championship. England, on the other hand, played 10 more games during the same period and as a result, the chances of them qualifying for the final reduces solely because of the number of games they are playing as compared to the Kiwis. This has to be the biggest concern for the ICC to handle ahead of the next cycle. They need to find a way of allotting the same number of games for every team to level the playing field.
A Final Isn’t a Viable Way to Decide the Winner
The points in the Championship is determined by the outcome of a multiple-match series between two nations, so it will only be fair if the two countries who finish top of the table play at least a three-match series to decide the ultimate winner. A one-off final where there are chances of the match being called off due to rain doesn’t give justice to the cricket that has been played over the course of two years. There are two ways the ICC can handle this, either make it a three-match series final or not have a final at all and hand the mace to the team which finished in the first position of the league at the close of the cycle. Just something to ponder on for the authorities.
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