With the ODI and T20I formats having their own showpiece events in the World Cup and the World T20 respectively, the International Cricket Council (ICC) has decided to give the Test format a better sense of relevance by creating the World Test Championship.
Much like the Women's Championship, the World Test Championship will be contested in the league format, taking place over a period of two years — a first in the men's game.
The advent of the Twenty20 format and the mushrooming of various 20-over leagues all over the world played a role in declining interest in Test cricket, which was evident in the low turnouts in the five-day format, especially in the subcontinent. Additionally, bilateral series often got mundane, especially when contested between two sides with a vast difference in terms of their rankings, often leading to one-sided encounters.
With the Test Championship, the ICC hopes to boost viewership in the classic format of the game; every match contested in this tournament having a potential impact on the fortunes of other teams.
The inaugural edition of the Championship began with the first Test of the 2019 Ashes at Edgbaston on 1 August, with Australia becoming the first team to collect points with a resounding win. A total of nine teams will take part in the event — all the Test-playing nations barring Zimbabwe, Afghanistan and Ireland.
Each team plays a total of three home and away series', with the league phase ending on 31 March, 2021. The top two teams then qualify for the final that takes place in June, 2021.
Below is the full points table for the ongoing Test Championship:
England won the home-series against West Indies at Old Trafford in the third Test. Rest of the cricketing calendar has been disrupted by the coronavirus pandemic.
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