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World Test Championship Final Preview 2021: Will Rain Spoil Watling’s Retirement?

World Test Championship Final Preview.

After two long years of Test cricket & coronavirus interruption, the World Test Championship Final is finally here.

Rising Kiwis are slightly better prepared against world beaters India with a series against England. India has been in England for a few weeks due to quarantine but have only played an internal practice match.

Two of the best teams on show, finally some context for Test cricket, BJ Watling’s retirement, but will rain spoil it all?

Also Read: Alternative World Test Championship Points Table, 5 Things To Watch Out From the World Test Championship Final

Why Is The WTC Final Significant? A Brief History

The idea of the World Test Championship is not a new one.

World Test Championship was supposed to become a reality in 2009, 2013, & 2017, but each of those iterations were cancelled in favor of much more lucrative, ICC ODI Champions Trophy.

Imagine an Indian team comprising of Sehwag, Sachin, Dravid, VVS Laxman, MS Dhoni, Zaheer Khan competing against McCullum’s 2015 team or even better, the golden South African era of Jacques Kallis, Graeme Smith, AB De Villiers, & Dale Steyn earlier in the decade.

Anyway, World Test Championship finally came into existence in 2019 and began with the England-Australia Ashes series. 58 matches later, India and New Zealand are deservedly in the finals, carrying bench strengths of envy.

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Playing Conditions

When And Where?

Here is the date and the venue for the World Test Championship Final. It is linked to ESPNCricinfo’s scorecard and live updates.

ICC Changes implemented

The new ICC playing conditions are now in place. Two of the most prominent for this match will be:

  • The LBW zone for DRS umpire call decisions has been shifted a little bit. It would be interesting to see how many LBW decisions are overturned in this Test match.
  • A reserve sixth day will be utilized in case all possible overs are not recovered during the five days. Looks highly likely that the sixth day will come into play.

A couple of other little changes will also be in place.

Rain, Rain Go Away

There is a 100% rain forecast for the first four days of the Tests and then down to 80% and 70% for the couple of days after. Well, it is England….

Recent ICC Record

Here is a recent ODI & T20I World Cup history for India and New Zealand. Both teams have underwhelmed over the past decade given their talent. Since 2007, here is how the teams stack up.

India At ICC Events

  • Champions Trophy – Winner (2013), Runners-Up (2017)
  • ODI World Cup – Winner (2011), Semi-finals (2015), Semi-finals (2019)
  • T20I World Cup – Winner (2007), Runners-Up (2014), Semi-finals (2016)

New Zealand At ICC Events

  • Champions Trophy – Runners-Up (2009)
  • ODI World Cup – Semi-finals (2007), Semi-finals (2011), Runners-Up (2015), Runners-Up (2019)
  • T20I World Cup – Semi-finals (2007), Semi-finals (2016)

These records are meaningless because tomorrow is a new day and Test cricket is just another beast.

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Road To the Finals


India began by routing West Indies in the Caribbean, before securing points at home against lackluster South Africa & Bangladesh teams.

Then came the tours Down Under. While Kiwis routed India in swing bowling conditions, India delivered a masterclass of ages in Australia. After 36/9 in Adelaide, Rahane’s century resurrected India in Melbourne. Then, the Pujara-Pant-Vihari-Ashwin show ensured India survived the 3rd Test, and the youngsters Shardul-Sundar-Pant-Siraj broke the Gabba fort to retain the Border-Gavaskar Trophy.

Finally, the England home series was a completely one-sided event even after Joe Root’s classic gave England a headstart at Chennai. Ashwin’s all-round magic at home & Axar Patel’s memorable debut ensured India ease past England.

India Matches Series Result
Vs WI*22-0
Vs SA33-0
Vs Ban22-0
Vs NZ*20-2
Vs Aus*42-1
Vs Eng43-1
World Test Championship Final Preview – India’s Road To Glory

*Signifies away series

New Zealand

New Zealand’s road to glory was much more formulaic.

The Kiwis started with away tours of Sri Lanka & Australia. While they put on a good show in New Zealand, winning one match, they were hammered in Australia (barring Neil Wagner’s intense series).

At home, it was same old. Swinging conditions. Boult, Southee, and debutant of the year, Kyle Jamieson, wrecked havoc against India and West Indies. Only Pakistan provided any semblance of resistance with Fawad Alam’s classic fourth innings ton going in vain with four overs left in the Test match.

New ZealandMatchesSeries Results
Vs SL*21-1
Vs Aus*30-3
Vs Ind22-0
Vs WI22-0
Vs Pak22-0
World Test Championship Final Preview – New Zealand’s Road To Glory

World Test Championship Final Preview – The Teams


  • Watch out for Ajinkya Rahane. He has a tendency to perform when it matters the most although his lack of consistency is frustrating. Rahane’s leadership & century in Melbourne was the catalyst for India in the memorable Border-Gavaskar Trophy. Since then, his form has gone hiding. England will bring back nice personal memories, and he is probably India’s best batter in swinging conditions. It is high time he shows up.
  • There were rumors that Mohammad Siraj would play in place of one of Mohammad Shami or Ishant Sharma, but that did not happen. India’s bowling has variety with Bumrah’s accuracy, Ishant’s seam, and Shami’s reverse swing. Looking forward to watch Ishant, who is in his 4th and most rewarding phase of his career. His 7-74 at Lord’s in the last tour was especially spectacular.
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New Zealand

  • Tributes have started flowing in for BJ Watling in his retirement match. This one is my favorite, especially his mom’s statement. Watling has been a symbol of this rising team’s resilience and stability. Always solid behind the stumps, he will go down as Kiwis’s greatest keeper, but what I will miss the most is his rearguard action. NZ’s middle order rarely collapsed, but when it did, Watling was at the rescue. The question is, does he have one fighting innings left in him?
  • This is a very understated team, but do you know who is the New Zealand in the New Zealand team? Tom Latham & Henry Nicholls. When the Conways, Williamsons, or Taylors make huge scores around them, you can guarantee that Latham-Nicholls will provide ample solid support. Expect one of them to rise to the occasion in the finals.

Watch Out For

  • Sharma-Shubman Vs Pace brigade of Boult-Southee-Jamieson: This might as well set the tone for this match. A Mumbai Indians mini-match between Boult & Rohit Sharma.
  • Latham-Conway-Nicholls Vs R Ashwin: Ashwin has been India’s most successful bowler in this WTC cycle and has performed across all conditions (with both bat and ball). Conway is in the form of his life and the Kiwis have 2 other left-hand batters in the Top 5. Expect to see a lot of Ashwin.
  • The slip catching. England’s dropped catches were on show in the last series and they have been one of the worst slip catching sides in the past two years. So I am glad Ind-NZ are playing this week. Both teams have legendary fast bowlers, so the ball will go to the slips more than usual. Rest assured, the catches will be taken. Rahane, Taylor, Rohit, Kohli, Latham should do the job.

Starting XIs


India has revealed its XI ahead of time. Shardul Thakur, Washington Sundar, Mohammad Siraj, Hanuma Vihari, Axar Patel, Mayank Agarwal all played crucial roles in the lead up to the WTC Finals, but unfortunately did not make the final XI. This is also the first time that Jadeja-Ashwin-Sharma-Shami-Bumrah will play together. What a mouth-watering lineup.

  1. Rohit Sharma, 2. Shubman Gill, 3. Cheteshwar Pujara, 4. Virat Kohli*, 5. Ajinkya Rahane, 6. Rishabh Pant (WK), 7. Ravindra Jadeja, 8. Ravichandran Ashwin, 9. Ishant Sharma, 10. Mohammad Shami, 11. Jasprit Bumrah

Squad: Hanuma Vihari, Wriddhiman Saha (WK), Umesh Yadav, Mohammad Siraj

New Zealand

New Zealand’s lineup selects itself, but the crucial question is the #7-8 spot. Matt Henry, Neil Wagner, & Ajaz Patel performed admirably in the England series and Colin de Grandhomme has been out for a while, so will they go for a four-fast bowler strategy? Ajaz Patel should have done enough in the England series for a spin option in this Southampton pitch.

  1. Tom Latham, Devon Conway, 3. Kane Williamson*, 4. Ross Taylor, 5. Henry Nicholls, 6. BJ Watling (WK), 7. Colin de Grandhomme/Kyle Jamieson/Matt Henry, 8. Tim Southee, 9. Neil Wagner, 10. Trent Boult, 11. Ajaz Patel

Squad: Will Young, Tom Blundell (WK)

Mitchell Santner, Daryl Mitchell, Doug Bracewell, Jacob Duffy, and Rachin Ravindra failed to make the final cut.


I honestly cannot see a way past the weather. Both teams have excellent bowling options, so unless both teams suffer collapses twice, a result would be very hard to attain.

Would love if we get a full game, but for now, going with a Draw.

Verdict: Draw 0-0

If the game does happen, what am I excited for the most? Neil Wagner’s intensity, Colin de Grandhomme’s hairdo, Williamson-Kohli-Southee’s continuing journey from U-19 World Cup, Pujara-Pant combination, Ross Taylor’s wisdom, an emotional sunset to Watling’s wonderful career, and in general, just a hard-fought sporting final.

IndiaNew Zealand
MVPAjinkya RahaneHenry Nicholls
Most RunsRohit SharmaTom Latham
Most WicketsIshant SharmaTim Southee
X-FactorRavichandran AshwinAjaz Patel
World Test Championship Final Preview – Prediction

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World Test Championship Records

Are there are records that can be broken in the World Test Championship Final?


It is really interesting that even though NZ made it to the finals, there is nobody in the top 15 run-scorer. Combination of several players standing up and the fact that NZ did not play as many games. Kane Williamson is at 16th with 817 runs and Tom Latham is 25th with 680 runs.

India, on the other hand, have 5 batters in the Top 15:

  • Rahane – 1095 (5th)
  • Rohit Sharma – 1030 (6th)
  • Kohli – 877 (11th)
  • Agarwal – 857 (12th)
  • Pujara – 818 (15th)


Ashwin is on #3 with 67 wickets and Southee is New Zealand’s best at #5 with 51 wickets.

  • Kyle Jamieson – 36 (12th)
  • Ishant Sharma – 36 (13th)
  • Mohammad Shami – 36 (14th)
  • Jasprit Bumrah – 34 (16th)
  • Trent Boult – 34 (18th)
  • Neil Wagner – 32 (20th)

Fielding and Dismissals

Both teams are pretty close on this list with BJ Watling – 43 dismissals (4th) and Rishabh Pant – 40 (5th).

In terms of catches, Rahane – 22 catches (4th) and Ross Taylor – 18 (5th) are at the top with Rohit Sharma – 16 (6th) and Virat Kohli – 16 (7th) close behind. New Zealand’s next best is Tom Latham – 14 (12th).

Most RunsMost WicketsMost CatchesMost Dismissals
Marnus Labuschagne – 1675Pat Cummins – 70Joe Root – 34Tim Paine – 65
Joe Root – 1660Stuart Broad – 69Steve Smith – 27Jos Buttler – 50
Steve Smith – 1341Ravichandran Ashwin – 67Ben Stokes – 25Quinton de Kock – 46
Ben Stokes – 1334Nathan Lyon – 56Ajinkya Rahane – 22BJ Watling – 43
Ajinkya Rahane – 1095 Tim Southee – 51Ross Taylor – 18Rishabh Pant – 40
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Make Test Cricket Great Again & Restore The Soul of this Wonderful Sport — Part II: The Problems With Test Cricket

Here we are with part II in our series, Make Test Cricket Great Again: Problems with Test Cricket.

Albert Einstein once said, “If I had an hour to solve a problem I’d spend 55 minutes thinking about the problem and 5 minutes thinking about solutions.”

This is exactly our goal. The long-term ambition of this series of articles is to generate a whole list of problems associated with Test cricket, propose respective solutions (both idealistic & practical), bring other people in during the process, and maybe at the end, gather enough momentum to gain the attention of administrators & the ICC.

Today, we bring in our friends from Twitter who will share their concerns with Test cricket & the World Test Championship.

The more opinions we have, the better. We can only move forward with a rich exchange of ideas between the fans, commentators, local administrators, experts, & former players rather than just the meeting board room of the Big 3.

The Work Done So Far

We did a similar exercise during the early days of the World Test Championship, but we wish to build upon this model. Here are some of our past proposals to improve the WTC.

  1. How Can The World Test Championship Improve?
    • Problems: Imbalance of the Big 3 (Australia, England, India) and the bias of ‘marquee’ series like the 5-match Ashes.
    • Solution: Merge the FTP (Future Tour Programme) & the WTC, and create a system where each team plays a 5-4-3 match series or 4-4-4 Test match series during a cycle. “Instead of scrapping the Ashes, we will keep traditional rivalries intact and encourage new ones.” Overall, 24 games against 9 opponents in a 2.5 year WTC cycle.
  2. How To Fix The World Test Championship Points Table?
    • Problems: (1) Points fluctuate based on number of games in a series (60 points – 2 Tests, 40 – 3 Tests, 24 – 5 Tests), (2) No points accommodated for Home & Away Advantage, and (3) All-Or-Nothing Points System for a 5 day-15 session Test match.
    • Solution: We combine the ODI Super League system (consistent base point system per series), provide a mechanism for home versus away (away wins & draws worth more), and distribute additional points across sessions to incorporate ebb & flow (2 points – session won, 1 point – even/wash out).
  3. Example of WTC Points Table Based on Our System
    • We implement our system from above and compare it with the WTC Table (as of August 30, 2020)

The Work Planned Ahead

The issue with my initial set of articles was the underlying assumption that each team will play an equal number of matches against each other. In a post-COVID world, matches are not guaranteed, and it seems certain nations are prioritizing games against higher ranked teams and calling off series against lower-ranked ones.

Hence, we plan to do practical investigations in our future articles:

  1. Revenue each Test playing nation generates: How much money does each cricket board and player earn every Test series per country? Why does New Zealand lose money to host a Test? How does the revenue compare to T20 leagues and the death of the tri-series?
  2. What does it take to host a Test match? We can analyze what goes during the match but what goes behind the scenes? We will research and examine key components: The major players, administrators, ground staff, and more.
  3. Equity vs Equality: Innovations that can help further bridge the gap between the different teams given the current financial status and level of each team.
  4. The Pink Ball Test: Does More Harm Than Good? Day-night Test matches ending in 2-3 days cannot generate more crowd/interest than a balanced Test match held for 5 days during the day. We will analyze the key differences between the red ball & pink ball, practice matches in domestic tournaments, and if this idea is worth sustaining?

Your Opinion Matters: Problems With Test Cricket

In Part I of the series, we asked our friends on Twitter how they would improve Test cricket. Some ideas that I brainstormed to get the conversation started were as follows:

  1. Getting rid of DRS umpires call (on impact)
  2. Improving/ Standardizing pitches (Chennai 2x pitch received way too much backlash)
  3. Promoting more money from T20 leagues to help out domestic cricketers
  4. Having a relegation-promotion system for the WTC

What Do People Think?

Now it is the people’s turn. Here is what they had to say. These are interesting Twitter accounts, blogs, & podcasts in their own right. Feel free to check them out (links next to the name).

The Hundred Report (Podcast)

“Definitely agree that that there is too much disparity between the big three and every other team. I am also onboard with a ‘division’ system for the WTC.”

Harrison (In-depth Football and Cricket)

Test Cricket

  • Home advantage is a good thing but has to be limits on how big that advantage can be
  • Neutral umpires needed back ASAP
  • More needs to be done to help the non-Big 3 nations


  • Each series should be 3 Tests long and in any 4/5 match series (Ashes, Ind v Aus/Eng), only the first 3 counts
  • Maybe each nation has to play each other home and away but that would take too long

The Beautiful Game


  • Group system
    • 8 teams, 2 groups of 4 each
    • Each team to play a 3 match series home & away
    • Top 2 from each group to be selected for Semi-Finals
    • Finals to be a 3-match series on neutral series (on 3 different types of decks: seaming-turner-flat decks)

Rohan Gulavani


  • Practical decisions on session breaks for rain impacted days. Play 10 overs after long rain and go for lunch when it’s sunshine (needs change)
  • One pink ball test in 3 match series
  • Number of unsuccessful reviews & umpires call. 3rd umpire authorized to override impact


  • Should try to schedule equal number of home and away matches for all the teams
  • Possibly more points for away wins?
  • Optional: Additional points for win against higher ranked team/innings win (debatable and can be parked)

Aviral Rai

  • Every team should play against each other. That will make the tournament lengthy but it will make it perfect and no teams can be said to have an easier pool or tougher pool. Conduct finals once in 4-5 years. Every Test playing nation should play against each other. It will make the WTC more enthralling contest.

“I just hate the comments that this team got ‘easier’ away tours than others. Or easier home games. WTC is a mighty big championship and in something big like this, you do not want any comments which should call it unfair.”


Brilliant entries from Twitter! Major theme was to create a balance in the number of Test matches played between each country during a particular cycle. Some innovative solutions for the WTC included 2 groups semi-finals format, bonus points against higher ranked teams, & a 3-match final. For Test cricket in general—mandatory neutral umpires, DRS improvement, & updating rain-protocols were some interesting proposals.

Looking Forward

Last time, I started with “I have been meaning to write this article for months now, but for some reason have not been able to.”

I now know why. This is not a one day project. Or a one week project. Or even a one person project. This will take input from several individuals, research & conversations, back & forth exchanges, and a lot of time. But, as they say:

Rome was not built in day. It was built brick by brick.”

One step at a time.

Make Test Cricket Great Again and Restore the Soul of This Wonderful Sport.

Inspired by talks with Dad and Vandit.

If you liked Problems with Test Cricket and enjoy this kind of stuff, check out our “Cricket Innovations” section for the entire list including the ideal World Cup Format.

Copyright (2021: 2/27/2021)– @Nitesh Mathur, aka Nit-X –

Image Courtesy: International Cricket Council, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Sources: Goodreads

Make Test Cricket Great Again & Restore The Soul of this Wonderful Sport — Part I

Make Test Cricket Great Again—I have been meaning to write this article for months now, but for some reason have not been able to.

Maybe it is because of the recent bit of exhilarating Test cricket, and all is actually well and good. Or maybe there is too much to fix and Test cricket has just become a lost cause.

The reality is somewhere in the middle.

Test Cricket At Its Best

Just in the last month, we witnessed some exhilarating bits of test cricket.

Pakistan’s tour of New Zealand – we saw New Zealand’s best pace quartet, Mohammad Rizwan-Faheem Ashraf’s courage to save Pakistan from numerous collapses, Azhar Ali answering his critics, and Fawad Alam redeeming his lost decade in the last match of 2020. Almost saved the match if not for Mitchell Santner’s jumping catch.

Fast forward the next month, we saw epic lows and mountainous highs in the India vs Australia series – the 36 All Out, finally a 5th Day test match save at Sydney, and the breach of the Gabba. Then, followed England’s sweep of Sri Lanka and India’s defeat at Chennai.

All of these Test match efforts were swept under the carpet after Nkrumah Bonner and Kyle Mayers’ amazing chase of 396 against Bangladesh. The West Indies ended up winning the series 2-0. If India’s 3rd string victory in Australia was anything, West Indies’ debutants eclipsed it one step further. Winning Test matches in Bangladesh is not easy anymore. Just ask England or Australia.

Is Test Cricket Dying?

With 6 overseas victories, an enthralling draw (almost 2), and only 2 wins by a home side recently (Melbourne and Chennai 2x), we can definitely say that Test cricket is not dying.

Between the 2011 and 2019 World Cup, these matches were hard to come by. With the exception of the great South African generation, almost no team won overseas. The only competitive test series I remember is the England-New Zealand 2013-14 series. Ashes 2019 reignited the fire in Test Cricket, and post-COVID, the flame has continued to spread.

So now with the World Test Championship heating up in its final stage and teams starting to compete overseas again, is everything well and good? Absolutely not.

The Big 3 still dominate, WTCs Points Table sucks, there is no context for teams out of contention, and finances for Test cricket are a problem. Here are some of our past proposals to improve the World Test Championship.

  1. How Can The World Test Championship Improve?
  2. How To Fix The World Test Championship Points Table?
  3. Updated WTC Points Table Based on Our System

What We Wish To Accomplish

What we wish to do in this series of articles, Make Test Cricket Great Again, is to expose problems faced by Test cricket, provide practical solutions, and go from there.

I highlighted practical for a specific purpose. Earlier, our series of articles on Test Cricket included solutions that involved each Test team playing an equal number of matches and assumed that the influence of the Big 3 will reduce over time. In the post-COVID world, this prediction is far away from the truth.

England will play 18 Tests for the WTC while Bangladesh will play around 4. Australia cancelled a Test series against South Africa which put a sour taste on the CSA-CA relationship, and it seems the WTC is basically a longwinded quadrangular series between New Zealand, England, India, and Australia.

Hence our future articles in Make Test Cricket Great Again category may include more practical insights like:

  • Revenue each Test playing nation generates
  • What It takes to host a Test match
  • Equity vs Equality: Innovations that can help further bridge the gap between the different teams given the current financial status and level of each team

Your Opinion Matters

So, how do you think should Test cricket should improve? We would love to share your thoughts in our future articles. We want to hear some innovative ideas (not too innovative though…the Big Bash tried too hard). Here are some other ideas that I have thought about, but maybe you all can pitch in with some more!

  • Getting rid of DRS umpires call (on impact)
  • Improving/ Standardizing pitches (Chennai 2x pitch received way too much backlash)
  • Promoting more money from T20 leagues to help out domestic cricketers
  • Having a relegation-promotion system for the WTC


Although Donald Trump lost his reelection bid for U.S. Presidential Election and Joe Biden prevailed—we can do something unheard of—combine both of their slogans and adopt it for our purposes:

Make Test Cricket Great Again and Restore the Soul of This Wonderful Sport.

Until then, go back to your IPL auctions.

Inspired by talks with Dad and Vandit.

Follow us here if you are on Medium or Bloglovin‘.

Image Courtesy: Lord’s Cricket Ground – Gareth Williams via CC By 2.0

World Test Championship Table: Surprising Changes

World Test Championship III: Implementing the Proposed Points Table

After the conclusion of the England-Pakistan Test series, we decided to update the World Test Championship Table based on our new proposed system in Part II of the segment, WTC: Good Structure But Needs Structural Improvement.

Earlier in Part I, How can the World Test Championship improve?, we described how the Big 3 is creating an imbalance in the World Test Championship via ‘marquee’ series’ like The Ashes and what can be done to improve it.

World Test Championship: Current System

Let us recall why we are discussing changing the World Test Championship (WTC) Table in the first place. Here are some of the flaws that WTC possesses today:

  • Number of Tests Played is uneven: England play 22, while Pakistan/Sri Lanka play 13 each.
  • Currently no distinction is made for Home/Away advantage: So far, England have played 11/4 (H/A), while New Zealand have played 2/5 (H/A).
  • Number of points fluctuate depending on # of games per series: Unfair to shorter series, and hence, discriminating against lower-ranked (and less financially stable) teams.
  • All-or-Nothing System: Test matches occur over 5 days or a max-of-15 sessions. One session can have a huge impact on the series, as the First Test of Eng-Pak exhibited. Yet, the points are awarded on an all-or-nothing basis.

Table I: Current World Test Championship Table

New Zealand311173400180/360
Sri Lanka20114121080/240
West Indies20205140040/240
South Africa20207160024/240
World Test Championship Table: Current System

*Note: Bangladesh tour of Pakistan was postponed after 1 Test match (out of a 2-Test series) due to COVID. Points are calculated as if the 2-match series will be completed eventually.

Brief Review – WTC Points Table Proposed System

Recall, our points distribution proposal is a two-tiered system, based on (1) session by session data and (2) Home/Away respectively.

In our proposed system, each team plays 12 Home/12 Away tests for a total of 24 matches over 2 and a half years, where the total points possible for each team is 1200 points, for an average of 50 points per match. The criteria is as follows:

I. Session By Session
  • Session Won: 2 Points, Even/Wash-Out/Bad Light: 1 Point, Session Lost: 0 Points
  • Points Possible Per Match: 30 (15 sessions)
  • Winning team is rewarded remaining sessions if match finishes early
II. Home and Away
  • (Home Team): Win: 16 Points, Draw: 8 Points, Lose: 0 Points
  • (Away Team): Win: 24 Points, Draw: 12 Points, Lose: 0 Points
  • (Average Total): Win: 20 Points, Draw: 16 Points, Lose: 0 Points

I. Updated Points Table – Session by Session

In the last article, we displayed the process for computing the session by session and overall total score for the West Indies-England series.

After the completion of the England-Pakistan series, we went back and similarly computed session by session points for every Test match in the WTC thus far…by hand.

After analyzing the 34 Test matches completed so far (with maximum of 510 sessions) , we came up with the following summary:

Table II: (New) Series and Session Summary

Played (H/A)Won (H/A)Lost (H/A)Drawn (H/A)WonDrawnWO/BLSessions Left
7 (5/2)2 (0/2)0
New Zealand7
Sri Lanka4
West Indies5
South Africa7
Proposed World Test Championship Table: Session Points

*WO/BL – Wash out/Bad Light

II. Updated Points System – Total Points Based on H/A

After computing the (I.) total session points, we add the (II.) base Home and Away score. Hence, the updated World Test Championship Table looks as follows:

Table III: New Points Table

I.Session Points
II.Points (Home)II.Points (Away)Points Total%Rank (By %)Rank (By Total)Rank by Session (without H/A)
New Zealand97
Sri Lanka51
West Indies43
South Africa 65
Proposed World Test Championship Table: Session Points – Based on Home and Away


  • We went ahead with percentage (%) of points won for the time being, since each team has not (and will not) play the same number of Test matches.
  • Pakistan and New Zealand switch positions as compared to Table I (4/5).
  • The most recent series, Eng-Pak actually received 66-26 points. According to our method, the scores would have been 82-62, which is a much better reflection of the series (and given that Pakistan was the away team).
  • If we had utilized Rank (By Total) as in the current system, we would have England #1, Australia #2, India #3, and South Africa up to #6, who have not had a good WTC so far.
  • Australia has one extra Test match drawn away from home compared to India. Hence, they are rewarded and are ahead based on total points. If we disregard H/A, India would be #2.

*Fun Fact: 32 sessions involving England (both home and away) were impacted by wash-outs or rained out, which is more than 2 Test matches or almost 11 days.


Note, at this point in time, the Proposed Table and the Actual Table look quite similar, but we attribute it to the small sample size, especially for teams ranked below 5.

We conjecture that as teams play similar amount of matches, our table will benefit the lower ranked teams and hence make the championship more competitive.

We will continue to update this table as more WTC matches are played.

In the meanwhile, let us know what suggestions you have to improve this table. Comment below, and we will see if it is possible to implement the idea!

Anyway, share, subscribe, and follow us on social media!

Source: Sincere Thanks to Vandit for helping in analyzing session by session data and computing overall points.

Image Courtesy: South Africa vs England, at Newlands, Cape Town Jan 2005, Test Day 3 Louis Rossouw /CC via 2.0

How to Fix Test Championship Points Table?

World Test Championship Part II: The Points Table

The Problem:

World Test Championship Points Table has serious issues which needs to be fixed, and we provide an apt solution.

The Background:

New Zealand: Played-7, won-3, lost-4. South Africa: Played-7, won-1, lost-6.

Looks pretty close, right? Wrong. New Zealand are currently sitting in 4th place of the World Test Championship (WTC) table with 180 points while South Africa is languishing near the bottom with just 24 points. Even though these two teams are separated by two losses, South Africa are behind by a seemingly insurmountable 156 points.

The number of points awarded in the WTC fluctuates depending on the number of matches played per series. A 2-match series is allotted 60 points per game, while 3, 4, and 5 match-series are awarded 40, 30, and 24 points respectively. Although dead-rubbers are eliminated in this format, some games now are worth more than others.

England lost the first test of the Ashes and the Wisden trophy, but it did not cost them much since the series consisted of more than 2 games. Teams playing 2-match series cannot afford the same degree of flexibility.

The Catch:

First, an all-or-nothing point system for a 5-day match is not justified. Test matches are enthralling to watch because of their ebb and flow. One Stuart Broad session can completely turn the series around or Faf Du Plessis-esque blockathon for multiple sessions might save a test match. Therefore, session-by-session match-ups need to be considered, not only the overall result. Second and more importantly, we need to incorporate home and away matches properly.

The Statistic:

India and Australia are classic examples. Over the last decade, India has won 36 matches, drawn 9, and lost merely 3 at home from the 48 played. However, they only won 17, drew 12, and lost 26 from the 55 played abroad (even this is skewed by away games played at the subcontinent). Similarly, Australia has a 36-9-9 record at home versus 17-7-25 away.

It has always been tough to win abroad, but in the last decade, the situation has worsened. In the 2010s, every country had a win-loss (W/L) ratio less than 1, meaning they lost more away than they won. Contrastingly, in the 2000s, Australia and South Africa had W/L greater than 1, while India and England were close with 0.8 and 0.739 W/L respectively.  In order to better incentivize winning abroad, more emphasis should be provided on winning away games.

The Inspiration:

Last week, we discussed how the various ‘marquee’ series’ were skewing the World Test Championship (WTC). We proposed that every team should be allocated exactly 24 games against nine different opponents over a period of two and a half years. Each team plays a total of six 2-match series along with 5-4-3 or 4-4-4 distribution against the remaining three opponents. Now that each team is on a level-playing field with an equal number of games, we can move on to solve the issues plaguing the point system.

We will take inspiration from the other major innovation the ICC came up with apart from WTC to contextualize the cricket calendar—the ODI World Cup Super League (WSL). The points system for the Super League provides a more competitive environment than the WTC.

For instance, in the WSL,10 points are assigned for a win, 5 for tie or no-result, and 0 for a loss. On the other hand, for a 3-match test series, winning constitutes 40 points, tie 20 points, draw 13 points, and defeat 0 points. Theoretically, bouncing back from a 3-match series loss is possible in the WSL, unlike a similar scenario in the WTC.

The Proposal:

So how do we fix this? We need to combine the ODI Super League system, provide a mechanism for home versus away, and distribute points across sessions. The overall points distribution for one match will consist of (1) base point system like WSL adjusted on a home/away basis, and (2) points awarded per session of a test match.

Here is our proposal. Note, each team plays 24 matches total-12 home and 12 away.

  1. Every test match has a maximum of 15 sessions (3 sessions – 5 days).
    • Session Won: 2 Points, Even/Wash-Out: 1 Point, Session Lost: 0 Points
    • If the match finishes before the last session on the 5th day, the winning team is awarded the points for the remaining sessions
    • Points Possible Per Match: 30
    • Home – Max Points Possible: 360 (12*30)
    • Away – Max Points Possible: 360 (12*30)
  2. Next, we provide criteria for home and away as displayed below:
Home and Away – Points Distribution
  • Maximum points for Home team: 360 +192 = 552 points.
  • Maximum points for Away team: 360 + 288 = 648 points. 
  • Total possible points: 552 + 648 = 1200
  • Average Points/Match: 1200/24 = 50 points per match.

The Example

As a demonstration, we take the recently concluded West-Indies tour of England series, which ended in 1-2. In the current format, West Indies got 40 points, while England got 80. We looked back at the scorecards in detail and allocated the points per session:

1st Test4 (8)7 (7)2 (2)2 (4)
2nd Test2 (4)4 (4)3 (3)6 (12)
3rd Test0 (0)4 (4)3 (3)8 (16)
Sess.6 (12)15 (15)8 (8)16 (32)
West Indies vs England – Session by Session

*Sess: Sessions (Points Awarded)

We then repeated the process for each test and computed the following result:

WI TotalEng TotalWI
1st Test171317+24:
2nd Test111911+0:
3rd Test7237 +0:  
West Indies vs England – Total Points

Altogether, even though 59-87 is not as close as the 40-80 from the earlier system, it is still much better and keeps the hope of a comeback alive. Had West-Indies survived the final session of the second test, they would have earned a few points in the session-category as well as received 12 points for the draw in an away match, thereby closing the gap. 

  • In the 45 sessions during the series, West-Indies won 6, England won 16, and 23 were either evenly matched or washed out.
  • West Indies were playing for a maximum of 54 points per test, while England were playing for a maximum of 46 points per test.

The Conclusion:

Is this system perfect? Not quite, but it is definitely an improvement on the current system. But imagine, teams trying to survive an extra session or opposition teams bowling aggressively to finish the game in an early session due to this extra incentive. This system is not as simple as the current format, but at least it is not as complex as the D-L system!

Please let us know if you have any suggestions in the comments below, share with friends and family, and subscribe!

Stay tuned for Part III coming up – where we redo the WTC Points Table with our method and compare it with the skewed table currently in place.

Image Courtesy: Leighhubbard, CC BY-SA 4.0 , via Wikimedia Commons