WHEN the World Test Championship was first proposed a couple of years ago I was more than a little excited.
No matter the tournament style, in 2013 (later 2017) we would now be able to say without need for debate “X country is the World Champion of Test match cricket.” It also meant there would be a world champion for each format of the game.
Alas, the World Test Championship was stillborn and in January 2014 the idea was cremated for good.
To an outsider it must look rather odd that 11-a-side football and both rugby codes have their own, firmly established world championships, yet the highest form of cricket doesn’t. My sister (who is very much a cricket outsider) believed Test cricket was the World Cup until I explained otherwise. She was baffled when she learned Test cricket had no world championship tournament.
But please don’t get me wrong. I don’t hate limited overs cricket, it has its place. But given India’s embarrassing last three Tests against England in the recent summer it seems rather strange that they currently carry the mantle of ‘World Champions’.
World Champions at 50 over cricket mind you, which they immediately showed their worth at by doing to England in the O.D.I. series what England had just done to them in the Tests.
As I see it the only real problem facing a World Test Championship is creating a suitable format for the tournament. You can’t do a straight knock-out with 10 teams, and splitting them into two groups of five would mean a minimum of 21 Tests in a single country in a short period of time.
This is where my format comes into play. Based on the English County Championship, the tournament would feature the 10 Test nations in a home and away round-robin league with the top two at the end of 18 matches each playing a Timeless Test in a suitable, neutral location.
It need not interfere with the tour schedule in any way, as one Test per tour would be nominated by the home side for counting towards the championship. It may take several years to complete, but the current World Cricket League began in September 2012 and will last until the 2018 World Cup Qualifier.
W.T.C. Points system:
- Win – 16.
- Tie – 8 each.
- Draw – 5 each.
If teams are level on points they will be separated by this formula: runs scored / wickets lost.
With the prospect of an associate nation earning Test status by winning the Test Challenge against (realistically) Bangladesh or Zimbabwe in 2018 this particular format would have to wait until we know for sure there’ll be either 10 or 11 teams playing Test cricket.
Of course I’d love to hear your own format ideas, so please leave yours in the comment box. Maybe together we could come up with something the I.C.C. can’t ignore.
Current I.C.C. Test rankings, the de facto W.T.C., can be found here.