All you need to know about the inaugural ICC World Test Championship


Test cricket is the pinnacle form of cricket. There were a lot of rumours about the longest format dying slowly and the attention shifting towards white-ball cricket. There was a lot of talk about context as well.

However, over the last couple of years, there has been a lot of exciting red-ball matches that have been played. Players have come out, acknowledged and have openly spoken about the importance of Test cricket.

Thus, here is the brand-new and long-awaited ICC World Test Championship which adds a lot more meaning and context to each and every Test match that is played. It promises to be a lot more exciting and engaging as teams from all the top Test-playing nations from all across the world take part.

Hence, the first Ashes Test between England and Australia which will commence on the 1st of August at Edgbaston in Birmingham marks the beginning of the Test championship. The International Cricket Council (ICC) officially launched the ICC World Test Championship (WTC) on Monday (29th July).

Thus, just a couple of days to go for it to kickstart, here are some Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) surrounding the league.

What is the ICC World Test Championship?

The World Test Championship (WTC) will see the top nine Test teams battle for supremacy in the longest format of the game. Each of these nine Test-playing nations will play six Test series in a two-year cycle i.e. 2019 to 2021. These six bilateral Test series will be split into three home and three overseas assignments. These series can be of any length between two to five matches and the points will be divided accordingly.

In all, there will be 27 Test series where 71 Test matches will be played in this two-year period and there will be a points table in place. The teams that finish in the top two will square off against each other in the Final at Lord’s in 2021.

Who are these nine teams and what was the criteria for qualification?

The teams that will be participating in this WTC are – India, England, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, West Indies and Bangladesh. These are the top nine ranked teams on the ICC Test Rankings.

The qualification scenario was the top nine teams on the ICC Test team rankings as on 31st March 2018 will play this WTC. Thus, Zimbabwe, Afghanistan and Ireland who are the other Test-playing nations missed the cut.

When and where will this WTC be played?

All the nine teams will have an equal share of playing at home and overseas. They need to play three series at home and three away. Thus, each of these nine nations will get to host multiple Test matches over the next couple of years.

Meanwhile, the situation on Pakistan hosting Tests is still uncertain and subject to security clearance. If they fail to obtain the same, UAE will continue to act as the home venue for them.

Hence, after 72 Test matches (including the final), we will have one winner who will win the Test Championship title.

Purpose of the WTC?

This is ICC’s attempt to revive Test cricket and bring new life into the purest and longest format of the game. The WTC adds more context to every bilateral series and in fact, it adds context and importance to each and every game that is played between two sides. This is also an attempt to remove dead rubbers. This is also ICC’s attempt to attract big crowds to the ground.

How does the points system work?

Each series will be played for a maximum of 120 points. However, it depends on the length of series how points for a win or a draw (or even a tie) is distributed. The longer the series, the lesser the points for each win.

The following table explains how the points will be distributed.

Matches in series

Points for a win

Points for a tie

Points for a draw

Points for a defeat






















Schedule for the WTC: Which team will play whom?

Most of the series played under the WTC will be in accordance with the Future Tours Programme (FTP). Each team will play six bilateral series (three at home and three away from home) and in the end, the assessment will be based on the points table.

The length of each series has been left to the discretion of the two participating boards. There are just four series in total which have four or more Test matches, all of which are shown below.

Here is the entire schedule for the WTC which will span over two years.

2-Test series

3-Test series

4-Test series

5-Test series

SL v NZ (2019)

WI v IND (2019)

IND v SA (2019)

SA v ENG (2019-20)

ENG v AUS (2019)

PAK v SL (2019)

IND v BAN (2019)

AUS v NZ (2019-20)

AUS v IND (2020-21)

IND v ENG (2021)

AUS v PAK (2019)

PAK v BAN (2020)

ENG v WI (2020)

NZ v IND (2020)

SL v ENG (2020)

SL v BAN (2020)

BAN v AUS (2020)

WI v SA (2020)

ENG v PAK (2020)

BAN v NZ (2020)

NZ v WI (2020)

BAN v WI (2021)

NZ v PAK (2020)

SA v SL (2021)

SA v AUS (2021)

PAK v SA (2021)

WI v SL (2021)

What about the ICC Rankings?

The ICC Rankings will continue. They will not be concerned with any of the WTC games. The rankings will go on as they used to before. They will have no effect on the WTC points table.

Will each Test match played from now be under the WTC?

No, not every Test match. The games listed above are the only ones that will be considered under the Test championship. Teams are free to play other nations as they wish to. Moreover, the games against the other three Test-playing nations – Zimbabwe, Afghanistan and Ireland will also not be taken under the WTC.

Is this the only WTC?

No. This is the inaugural edition of the World Test Championship. The second tournament is scheduled to start as soon as the first one ends in 2021. That will go on for another two years and finish in 2023.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *