We begin a new era in test cricket on Thursday as the 5 test Ashes series launches the beginning of the World Test Championship. Over the next two years, 9 countries will be playing to earn the right to play in the final at Lords in 2021.
But for me there are already a few issues that are both concerning and confusing, here they are:
Firstly, only 6 series for each country (3 home and away) count towards points for the WTC. So for example the Blackcaps 2 test series v England later in the year has no points on offer and already I’m reading that England will be resting players for this series. Not good news for New Zealand fans who miss out on watching some of England’s world class players.
My next issue is the ‘’Doctoring’’ of the pitches. We all know this happens now, but even more pressure will come on the home grounds men as the sides chase must win points. The Black Caps upcoming series counts towards WTC points and don’t be surprised if 3 or all 4 spinners play, as we all know Sri Lanka’s pitches will turn square from the first day. I will watch with interest how the demerit points for poor pitches plays out.
Now to the points system, work this out: Each series is worth 120 points so for example a 5 test series there will be 24 points per win, but if you only play a 2 test series each win is worth 60 so lets say NZ win v Sri Lanka 2-0 and Australia beat England 5-0 both sides will be on 120 points! Also points for a draw differ depending on the number of tests in the series.
My final point is the final being played at Lords (odds of rain in June) after two years of teams slogging it out it all comes down to 1 test match why not a 3 match final series? And guess what, if the final is a draw the 2 teams will be ‘joint champions’.
But like every cricket fan I will watch this play out over the next two years and look forward to Captain Kane lifting the trophy. Or maybe jointly with another country’s captain.
If it's good enough for test cricket to have joint champions why not one day cricket?