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World Test Championship Explained

By Michael Norwood
September 15 2019

With the Ashes all but done, some cricket followers have been trying to make sense of the Test Championship, and how the point system works, and where of course it all ends up.

What is the ICC World Test Championship?

The ICC World Test Championship sees nine men’s Test-playing nations competing over a two-year period, with a final between the two top nations to be played in 2021. Bilateral series remain as the key component in the Championship but, for the first time, points are up for grabs in each match meaning there are no ‘dead rubbers’.

When will the Championship take place?

The ICC World Test Championship gets underway with the 2019 Men’s Specsavers Ashes series, where England host Australia for five Tests in August and September. Each nation will play six series (three at home, three away), ranging between two and five matches, between August 2019 and February 2021 before the final in June 2021.

Which nations are involved?

England are joined by eight other Test-playing nations in the inaugural ICC World Test Championship. Australia, who will also play in the opening series, Bangladesh, India, New Zealand, Pakistan, South Africa, Sri Lanka and the West Indies. The three ICC Full member nations not participating are Afghanistan, Ireland and Zimbabwe. The fixtures for the ICC World Test Championship follow the 2018-2023 ICC Future Tours Programme. This means that each nation will only play against six other nations in the two-year period of the inaugural Championship.

Do all nations play the same number of Test matches?

No. With the schedule following the ICC Future Tours Programme, some nations will play more matches than others. England will play the highest number of Tests, with 22 scheduled as a result of four- and five-match series against Australia, South Africa and India. Pakistan and Sri Lanka, however, will only play 13 matches each in the two-year period. Australia and India will both play 18 matches, 15-a-piece for South Africa and West Indies and 14 each for Bangladesh and New Zealand.

How does the points system work?

Every match counts in the ICC World Test Championship, with points awarded for winning or drawing the game. This means, even if the series win is out of reach teams can still fight for Championship points. The points on offer in each match depends on the number of matches in the series, however each series carries 120 points in total. This is to ensure the nations who will play more matches in the two-year timeframe don’t have an unfair advantage in reaching the final. In a five-match series, therefore, 20% of the points will be available each match, while in a two-match series, 50% of the points will be available each match.

World Test Championship fixtures


Australia (home) – 5 matches

South Africa (away) – 4 matches

Sri Lanka (away) – 2 matches

West Indies (home) – 3 matches

Pakistan (home) – 3 matches

India (away) – 5 matches

* England's two test tour to New Zealand in 2019 will not count towards the championship.


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World Test Championship Explained
Discussion started by England Cricket (IP Logged), 15/09/2019 16:47
England Cricket
England Cricket
15/09/2019 16:47
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