A maximum of 120 points will be up for grabs in each series of the World Test Championship (WTC), which is due to be begin after the 2019 World Cup. In a system incentivised towards winning, a draw will earn teams one-third of the points available for a win while a tie will fetch each team half the points reserved for victory.
The points system has been the subject of much discussion between Members as they finalise details of the WTC, in particular over whether points should be awarded for series wins or match wins. All sides do not play the same number of Tests in a two-year WTC cycle and neither do all necessarily play an equal number of home and away Tests. But now, a maximum of 720 points – 120 points for six series in a cycle, three at home, three away – will be available for all nine sides.
This system was presented at the ICC’s annual conference in Dublin over the weekend where the Chief Executives’ Committee (CEC) went through the recommendations made by the ICC’s cricket committee and passed them on to the ICC Board. The Board, ESPNcricinfo understands, has approved the recommendations.
According to various officials present in Dublin, the key element in creating an effective points system was incentivising wins, so that winning a two-Test series 2-0 will bring greater reward than winning it 1-0. Points at stake for every match would ideally negate the idea of teams playing for a draw, and also invest considerable meaning to Tests played after the series has been decided, what have traditionally been known as “dead rubbers”.
In a five-Test series such as the Ashes, each Test would be worth 24 points (120/5). If a team wins it 5-0, it will win 120 points. If the result is 3-2, the winning team will get 72 points and the losing side 48 points. If a team wins it 3-0 (with two drawn), the winning side gets 88 points (24 x 3 for the wins plus 8 x 2 for the draw) and the losing side 16 (8 x 2 for the draws).
In a two-Test series, each Test is worth 60 points. If a team wins the series 1-0, it will get 80 points, while the losing side receives 20 points.
In a three-Test series, each Test is worth 40 points. A team winning 2-0 will receive 93.3 points (40 x 2 plus 13.3 for the draw) while the losing side will receive 13.3 points. A series drawn 1-1 will mean both sides get 53.3 points each (40 for the win +13.3 for the draw)
This system was one of two options under consideration. In the other option both match wins and series wins would fetch points, although individual match wins would get much more. So protecting a 1-0 lead in a two-Test series ahead of the second Test could be a desirable result.
In May, the ICC’s cricket committee, headed by former India captain Anil Kumble, ruled out allotting a set of points for series wins. Instead, the committee felt that by allotting points for every match, it would push teams to play to win because the points accrued would order rankings at the end of the cycle, on the basis of which the top two sides qualify for the Test Championship final, which will be a one-off Test.