In 2019, ICC chairman Shashank Manohar stated that “Test cricket is dying.”
We live in a culture of impatience and instant gratification. This instant gratification trap is observed in all sorts of sports, especially in cricket. For the new generation, test cricket is like a big yawn; they think it is prolonged or colourless. They plump for formats like Twenty20 or T10 than a fully-fledged five traditional day-match. Test cricket needed something intriguing and different to change this perspective. Keeping that in mind, in August 2019, International Cricket Council (ICC) introduced World Test Championship (WTC) to keep Test cricket still alive and pertinent.
WTC consisted of 71 test matches and 27 test series between two years (2019-21). All nine test playing nations were a part of it and, each team was supposed to play three home series and three away series. Each series would consist of a maximum of 120 points and, the top two teams in the WTC points table will play the final at Lords in 2021.
As of February 2021, New Zealand became the first team to qualify for WTC finals after Australia’s tour of South Africa got postponed due to a pandemic. India, England and, Australia are still in the race for the WTC final. The ongoing India-England series will play a deciding role in the WTC qualifications.
India and England
Initially, India was almost out of the WTC race after the third match against Australia in January 2021. But, the fourth-test heroics have put India on top to qualify for the final. International cricket finally returns to India after 330 days with the India-England series. The tour compromises four tests, five T20I’s, and three ODI’s. England will also play the last two tests and the five T20I’s at the newly renovated Motera Stadium in Ahmedabad.
The India-England will be a four-match test series which means, a win will give teams 30 points, and a draw will earn them 10 points. India will exploit the home advantage and are the most favourites to qualify. India requires at least two wins and one draw out of their four test matches to qualify for the finals. India will qualify by any of the below scenarios:
IND 2-0 ENG
IND 2-1 ENG
IND 3-0 ENG
IND 3-1 ENG
IND 4-0 ENG
On the other hand, England will have a mountain to climb on Indian soil. Playing in Indian conditions is no cakewalk for any team and, it would take a staggering effort from England to qualify from this stage. England will qualify by any of the below scenarios:
ENG 3-0 IND
ENG 3-1 IND
ENG 4-0 IND
Australia was the top contender to qualify before South Africa’s tour got postponed. Australia requires 167 more points to qualify and, they have no upcoming test matches in the next few months. However, they still have an outside chance to qualify but, they will have to pray for a few results to go in their way. Australia can go through if India or England ends up in one of the following scenarios:
IND 1-0 ENG
IND 0-0 ENG
IND 1-1 ENG
IND 2-2 ENG
ENG 2-0 IND
ENG 2-1 IND
After two years of fascinating test cricket, we are finally down to the wire as India and England battle it out to decide the second-finalist at Lords. The WTC is undoubtedly the biggest event in Test cricket so far and has given fans something to look forward to in the pinnacle format of the game. The inaugural Final of WTC is all set to take place at Lords on 18th June.