India will once again not play Pakistan in the second cycle of World Test Championship with three away tours lined up in the next two years, starting with the England series next month. As per rule, each of the nine nations in the World Test Championship calendar play against six nations of their choice and in the 2021-2023 cycle, India will play Sri Lanka instead of West Indies, whom they played in 2019 during the inaugural edition. While the August 4 start of the five-Test series against England kicks off India’s WTC campaign, they will also tour South Africa between December 2021 to January 2022 and an away series against Bangladesh in November 2022.
The biggest series apart from England away Tests will be the marquee four Tests against Australia at home between September and early November next year.
India will host New Zealand in November this year for two Test matches and Sri Lanka will be hosted in February-March 2022 after the away tour of South Africa.
The ICC on Wednesday also officially confirmed that teams will be awarded standardised 12 points for a win, four for a draw and six for a tie during the second cycle. The ICC further said that percentage of points won will be used to determine the standings.
Earlier, each Test series carried a value of 120 points which led to certain inequality in the table as a team winning a Test in a two-match series got 60 points compared to five-game series where a Test win is valued at 24 points.
PTI had last month reported that ICC was set to introduce the new standardised points system for the second WTC cycle. ICC Acting Chief Executive Geoff Allardice said the changes were made to simplify the points system while taking learnings from the disruption last year.
“We received feedback that the previous points system needed to be simplified. The Cricket Committee took this into consideration when proposing a new, standardized points system for each match,” Allardice said in a statement.
“During the pandemic we had to change to ranking teams on the points table using the percentage of available points won by each team, since all series could not be completed.
“This helped us determine the finalists and we were able to complete the championship within the scheduled time frame. This method also allowed us to compare the relative performance of teams at any time, regardless of how many matches they had played.”
Apart from the India-England series, the Ashes later this year will be the only other five-match affair in the second cycle which will end in June 2023. Australia’s tour of India next year is the only four-Test series in the upcoming cycle.
India captain Virat Kohli, said after losing the inaugural WTC final to New Zealand, he expects his side to regroup with “new energy” in the new cycle.
“It was great to have played the final of the ICC World Test Championship against New Zealand in what was a memorable contest. Not just the final, we saw the determination of players throughout the first edition of the championship,” Kohli said.
“The following of cricket lovers too was great to see, and I am sure they will all be waiting eagerly for the second edition. We will regroup with new energy for the next cycle starting with our series against England.”
Reigning champion New Zealand skipper Kane Williamson said WTC has revived people’s interest in the traditional format of the game.
“The WTC has certainly added more context and brought new meaning to Test cricket and it was awesome to see the interest that was generated around the Final against India,” he said.
“We know trying to defend the title will be a huge challenge, but our focus will be on making sure we prepare as well as we can for the tours ahead and trying to maintain our level of performance.”
England captain Joe Root described the upcoming five-Test duel against India as an “interesting challenge”.
“We start our campaign in the second edition of the ICC World Test Championship against the finalists of last time, which is an interesting challenge straight away,” he said.
“India are a fine all-round side and it would be good to test them in our home conditions. We narrowly missed out on qualifying for the final last time and are looking to do better this time.”
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