The ICC WTC ( World Test Championship) is the first competitive international test cricket tournament. After being delayed multiple times; the current edition of the ICC Test Cricket Championship began on the 1st of August, 2019 with the world test championship final slated to be held in June 2021. There are nine teams playing in the world test championship currently – Australia, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh. Sri Lanka, New Zealand, England, West Indies, and South Africa.
ICC WTC: What Is The Status Currently?
India was initially leading the rankings, but a change in the ranking system of the ICC WTC in November has harmed India’s chances to make it to the finals as they have slid down to the second position in the rankings. This change in the ranking system was necessitated to ensure that teams do not face any disadvantage due to COVID-19 induced match cancellations.
Now, teams will gain points based on the percentage of points (POP) that they win out of the total number of points that is attributed to a series. With three continuous series wins against India, West Indies and Pakistan, New Zealand has become the world’s leading test team now. It is being followed by Australia, India, England and South Africa in the rankings.
India In A Must Win Situation To Avoid Pressure
New Zealand’s meteoric rise has cast clouds over India’s aspirations of qualifying for the ICC WTC final. Currently, India is trailing Australia by two points in the rankings. New Zealand has 120 World test championship points, trailed by Australia at 116 points while India stands at 114 points.
Currently, India and Australia are facing each other for the four-match Border-Gavaskar Trophy. While Australia had clinched the first match; India was able to stage a turnaround in the second match and won by eight wickets. The third and ongoing match of the series is crucial as the team that will win this match shall be ensured of not losing the series.
As Australia is better placed in the rankings now. Team India is under a lot of pressure to win the ongoing match. India has already broken its reputation of being a team that does not win in overseas conditions in the past few years, and it had won the Trophy when it had toured Australia for the last time in 2018. Therefore, India currently needs 120 more world test championship points to qualify for the ICC WTC World test championship final. Including the ongoing test, they have six more test matches left. Two of them are against Australia; including the ongoing one, and four of them are scheduled to be played at home against England.
In order to qualify for the ICC WTC final, they need to win four of the six matches. Otherwise, they have to win three and draw three of the six test matches. This means that if India wins the ongoing match and the series, the chances of them qualifying for the finals will be highly boosted.
Who will play the ICC WTC Final?
It is still quite difficult to predict who will play the ICC WTC final. West Indies and Bangladesh are at the bottom of the table; so they shall not be able to qualify for the finals. South Africa and Sri Lanka are not in contention to make it to the WTC final. With its recent drubbing in New Zealand, Pakistan is also out of contention. The top four teams – New Zealand, Australia, India, and England now have the highest chances of qualifying. England has to win five of the remaining matches against Sri Lanka and India and draw one of them.
India and Australia are already locking horns over the points as we speak. New Zealand, for the first time, has become the best test team in the world. Their recent performances under Kane Williamson make them a strong contender for the World Test Championship final.
Therefore, the gradual rise of New Zealand has made the contest to qualify for the ICC WTC World Test Championship final. These four cricket teams across the world now should be watched closely to understand who might stake claim to qualify for the World Test championship final.