Percentage of points will remain to decide next World Test Championship finalists

Published June 15, 2021
New Zealand's Kane Williamson talks to India's Virat Kohli after New Zealand beat India in a test match at Basin Reserve on February 24. — Reuters
New Zealand's Kane Williamson talks to India's Virat Kohli after New Zealand beat India in a test match at Basin Reserve on February 24. — Reuters

SOUTHAMPTON: The International Cricket Council (ICC) on Monday said percentage of points won will decide the next World Test Championship (WTC) finalists after the system was adopted in the Covid-hit inaugural event.

India and New Zealand will play the WTC final in Southampton starting on Friday with the winner getting $1.6 million along with the Test mace. The runners-up will pocket $800,000 in the nine-team competition.

The ICC switched from the original system of total points to percentage of points won midway in the first cycle which was severely disrupted by the pandemic.

“We are going to stick with the percentage of points won method to ranked teams,” ICC acting chief executive Geoff Allardice told a select group of reporters in a video chat from Southampton. “That percentage I think served us well in the second half of the competition. Now we can put a standardised number of points per Test match, it doesn’t matter whether it is a two-Test or a five-Test series.”

He added: “The same number of points will be available for each match that’s played. Every team will be judged on the percentage of points and not on total.”

The new method left Virat Kohli’s India needing to win the Test series away in Australia and the one at home against England to make the final.

India booked their place in the final after a 3-1 series win over England in March.

Kane Williamson’s side secured their spot when Australia’s tour of South Africa was postponed this year due to the pandemic.

“One of the things that happened during this cycle was that it became evident that not everyone was going to complete their six series as a result of postponements,” he said. “Because we have had teams playing uneven number of series, we made it a point to tweak the points system and make it as fair as possible.”

Allardice said ICC’s aim to add more context to the five-day game has been a success after two years of Test series to determine the world’s top two teams.

“I think we were really pleased with the way it played out,” said Allardice. “It was obvious that the interest in the series wasn’t around the two countries involved [in a bilateral series], it was coming from all over the cricket world. And to bring that sort of context it has been a real step forward.”

India head coach Ravi Shastri had suggested a three-match WTC final to decide the winners next time, but Allardice said a ‘one-match final is quite exciting’.

Allardice also clarified that the rule on Covid-19 replacements and concussion replacements will remain as it has been for the last 12 months.

“Covid replacements will be available if a player is required to not continue in a match as a result of a Covid-19 situation,” he said.

Published in Dawn, June 15th, 2021

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