ICC World Test Championship 2019-21 | Sportzwiki

ICC World Test Championship 2019-21

Azhar Ali AFP
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Azhar Ali Expressed His Desire To See Pakistan Win 2nd WTC Title During His Career

Azhar Ali, a former Pakistan Test skipper expressed his desire to see his country win the World Test Championship during his career. Pakistan had a torrid time in the inaugural WTC as they finished fifth in the table with four wins, five losses, and three draws from 12 matches. Pakistan will start their 2021-23 WTC cycle with their two-match Test series against the West Indies.

Azhar Ali has been a prolific run-scorer for the nation in the purest format, having notched 6579 runs at an average of 43.28 with 18 tons and 33 fifties. Even as he hasn’t played T20 cricket for the Men in Green, his last ODI for Pakistan came way back in January 2018 against New Zealand.

Azhar Ali
Azhar Ali. (Photo Source: Getty Images)

Azhar Ali Admits The WTC Is A Valuable Addition And He Wants To See Pakistan Win WTC During His Career

Azhar Ali put forth his wishes prior to Pakistan’s upcoming Test series against the West Indies that starts on Thursday, August 12. Both matches of the red-ball series will take place at Sabina Park, Kingston in Jamaica.

“The ICC World Test Championship is a valuable addition and has helped make this format more competitive. I want to see Pakistan win the Test championship in my career. Test cricket is the pinnacle format and this format is still entertaining fans around the globe. Fans in Australia, England, and New Zealand still wait for a Test match,” Azhar was quoted as saying in a press conference.

Pakistan Cricket Team
Pakistan Cricket Team (Credit: Getty Images)

After a poor outing in the inaugural edition of the ICC World Test Championship, Pakistan Cricket Team will be desperate to bounce back in the second cycle of the Test supremacy. The Men in Green failed to secure a place in the top 5 and recorded only four wins in 12 matches. Pakistan ended the competition in sixth place with 43.3% points.

The first West Indies-Pakistan Test will be played at the Sabina Park, Kingston, Jamaica from August 12. The 2nd Test will be at the same venue and will get underway from August 20.

Azhar Ali Admits A Caribbean Tour Isn’t An Easy One

Prior to the series, Azhar Ali felt the upcoming games will pose their fair share of challenges to the visiting team. Pakistan has won seven out of 26 Tests in the West Indies while losing 12 and drawing seven games. Azhar Ali also said that with the likes of Babar Azam, Mohammad Rizwan, Abid Ali, and Fawad Alam in their ranks, Pakistan has a power-packed batting lineup.

“A Caribbean tour is never an easy one and we are preparing for the challenges ahead here in Guyana. The West Indies have a good bowling line-up but our batters are in a good shape,” he stated.

Azhar Ali And Fawad Alam Photo: AFP
Azhar Ali And Fawad Alam Photo: AFP

“Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan are in good knick and they have shown their pedigree in the white-ball matches leading up to the Tests. Among the Test batters, Abid Ali and Fawad Alam are also performing consistently from the last couple of series,” Azhar added.

The visitors will play against West Indies in a two-match Test series that gets underway from August 12. The 11 players who left for Barbados on July 26th were Abid Ali, Ali, Fawad Alam, Imran Butt, Mohammad Abbas, Naseem Shah, Nauman Ali, Sajid Khan, Shahnawaz Dahani, Yasir Shah, and Zahid Mahmood.

Azhar Ali has amassed 6579 runs from 87 Tests averaging 43.28 with 18 tons with a highest of unbeaten 302. Fawad Alam played 3 Tests in 2009 before being recalled in 2020 to play against England. He has scored 3 tons in each of the last three series against New Zealand, South Africa, and Zimbabwe.

Pakistan will open its World Test Championship campaign in August 2021 against the West Indies cricket team. Initially, the series was supposed to have three Tests, but both boards agreed to have only a two-Test series. After the ICC T20 World Cup 2021, Pakistan will visit Bangladesh to play a two-Test series against the home team. The series is likely to take place in November 2021.

The Australian cricket team will play an away Test series against Pakistan in the first quarter of 2022. The series will comprise three Tests, with either Pakistan or the United Arab Emirates playing host to the fixtures. Babar Azam’s men will play their final away series under the new WTC cycle against Sri Lanka in July and August 2022.

Like the series against Bangladesh and West Indies, the Pakistan vs Sri Lanka Test series will also consist of two matches. World Test Champions New Zealand will play two Tests against Pakistan in November 2022.  The England cricket team led by Joe Root will travel to Asia to compete in a three-Test series against Pakistan.

Rohit Sharma
Rohit Sharma
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Rohit Sharma Hasn’t Been Expressive In Tests Unlike Limited-Overs Cricket, Says VVS Laxman

VVS Laxman has opined that opener Rohit Sharma has not been as expressive in Tests as he has in white-ball cricket. Speaking at the end of Day 1 of the first Test against England on a chat, VVS Laxman dissected Rohit Sharma’s approach while opening the innings in foreign conditions.

Rohit Sharma has recorded scores of 26, 52, 44, 7, 34, and 30 as an opener while playing in Sydney, Brisbane, and Southampton over the last year. He has gotten off to starts on almost all occasions by countering good bowling attacks wielded by Australia and New Zealand in testing conditions.

Rohit Sharma
Rohit Sharma. Image Credits: Twitter

VVS Laxman: Rohit Sharma Hasn’t Been As Expressive As He Is In White Ball Cricket

Rohit Sharma scored 34 runs in the only Test he played on the 2014 tour. In the World Test Championship final, he got starts and scored 34 and 30. Rohit Sharma, who scored 648 runs in the 2019 World Cup in England, will hope to emulate that success in red-ball cricket.

VVS Laxman said: “This has been the game plan of Rohit Sharma, especially in the overseas conditions. He has not been as expressive as he is in white-ball cricket.

“He takes his time, respects the good deliveries, and whenever the ball is short, he looks to play the back-foot punch or a cut short, and for anything on the stumps, he uses his wrist or plays with the straight bat towards mid-on. He has got his game-plan set. It will be interesting to see how KL Rahul approaches his innings tomorrow.”

VVS Laxman
VVS Laxman

But he could not convert these knocks into big scores like he effortlessly does in white-ball cricket. Indian fans will be hoping that the flamboyant opener will overcome this hurdle and score big in the current match at Trent Bridge.

Rohit Sharma has amassed 1094 runs in 12 Tests averaging 60.77 in the WTC cycle of 2019-21. He has scored four centuries. His highest score came against South Africa when he smashed 212 runs in an innings. His first outing as a Test match opener was against South Africa at home and he smashed a century in both innings of the match and followed it with a double century as well.

VVS Laxman: Both The Openers Would Want To Prove Themselves That They Can Perform In England

VVS Laxman also stated that both openers would be trying to prove a point in this Test by notching up a big score. KL Rahul and Rohit Sharma have always been rated highly due to their elegance and class batsmanship. But consistency has evaded them in Test cricket, especially in matches away from home.

On the matter, Laxman said: “Both the openers would want to prove themselves that they can perform in English conditions. Rohit Sharma is playing his second match in these conditions.

“I thought he batted well in the World Test Championship (WTC) final, even though he did not convert his good start into a big score. His partner KL Rahul has a good basic technique, and at the same time, he has got a lot of shots at his disposal.”

KL Rahul and Rohit Sharma. Pic:Getty Images
KL Rahul and Rohit Sharma. Pic: Getty Images

“But they also realized that seeing off the new ball or the tricky period of play that the openers and number 3 batsmen have to encounter at the end of the day’s play, especially when the opposition team is bowled out cheaply. I think they knew that they had to see through the day and then come back fresh tomorrow and start afresh,” Laxman concluded.

Rohit Sharma’s last Test appearance against England in their ground came back in 2014 as he wasn’t part of the Test squad which toured the country in 2018. On the 2nd day, India hasn’t lost a wicket and is going strong at 46/0 in the 27th over with Rohit Sharma batting on 25 off 76 balls and KL Rahul on 17 off 88 balls.

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VVS Laxman : India’s Forthcoming 5 Matches Test Series Vs England Greatest Examination

VVS Laxman, former India cricketer calls India’s forthcoming Test series against England as their greatest examination. India has won a Test series in England thrice – in 1971 (under Ajit Wadekar’s captaincy), in 1986 (under Kapil Dev’s captaincy), and in 2007 (under Rahul Dravid’s captaincy).

India skipper Virat Kohli will aim to join the elite list of captains when India starts their five-match Test series campaign against England on August 4.

VVS Laxman
VVS Laxman. (Photo Source: Twitter)

VVS Laxman: India’s Focus Have To Maintain Standards In 2nd WTC After Being The Most Consistent Side And Finalists Of 1st WTC

After 2007, India toured England three times (2011, 2014, and 2018), but failed to add another series win on English soil. India will take on England in the first Test on August 4 at Trent Bridge in Nottingham. The second Test (Aug 12 – Aug 16) will be played at Lord’s, the third (Aug 25 – Aug 29) at Headingley, the fourth (Sep 02 – Sep 06) at Kennington Oval, and the fifth and final Test (Sep 10 – Sep 14) at Old Trafford.

 

 

“Even though they had nothing to show for their efforts in the end, India were the most consistent side of the inaugural World Test Championship. As the second WTC gets under way on Wednesday in Nottingham with the first of five Tests against England, India’s focus will be to maintain the standards they have set over the last few years, in the knowledge that if they stick to their disciplines, rewards will follow,” VVS Laxman wrote in bis column for Times of India.

“Top sides pride themselves on exponentially becoming better versions of themselves. One of the big challenges in Test cricket is conquering foreign lands. Virat Kohli and Ravi Shastri will be mindful that India haven’t won a series in England since 2007, and that their last three outings have ended in heavy defeats. The endeavour this time will be to arrest that trend, which is not an unrealistic expectation given the quality of resources at their disposal,” VVS Laxman said.

Indian test team
Indian test team[photo: Twitter]

“This series will be India’s greatest examination during the new WTC cycle. With all due respect, South Africa aren’t quite the same side as they were and India have done well in that country over the years, so they will fancy their chances of a maiden series win there later in the year. A good display in England will do wonders for India’s confidence as well as their standing in Test cricket,” VVS Laxman said.

India’s Schedule For The Next World Test Championship Cycle Announced as the ICC World Test Championship’s 2nd edition from 2021-2023 will begin with the 5-match Test series against England and end with the tour of Bangladesh. India’s second assignment in the Test Championship (2021-23) will be against defending champions New Zealand at home.

Their third assignment will be when they lock horns with South Africa in December-January in the Rainbow nation before hosting Sri Lanka in a 3-match Test series. After a lengthy break from the longest format of the game, the team will then battle it out against Australia in the Border-Gavaskar Trophy, which will take place in the second half of 2022. The team’s second WTC campaign will conclude with a 2-match Test series against Bangladesh.

VVS Laxman is one of the few players to have played 100 Test matches, without ever appearing in a One-Day Cricket World Cup.

VVS Laxman: Indian Players Have Endured Stresses By Being In Bio Bubble

Ben Stokes has withdrawn from the upcoming 5-match Test series against India which begins from August 4 in Nottingham as he has decided to ‘prioritize his mental wellbeing’. The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) on Friday confirmed that all-rounder Ben Stokes will take an indefinite break from all forms of cricket.

“England will be without Ben Stokes, whose withdrawal owing to mental health issues is another grim reminder of the extraordinary times we live in. Ben is acknowledged as one of the fiercest competitors, driven by tremendous mental strength to go with his brilliance on the field. What this latest instance goes to show is that this is an issue that can afflict anyone at any stage, and to seek assistance is definitely not a sign of weakness,” he said.

Ben Stokes will not be available for England's Test series against India.© AFP
Ben Stokes will not be available for England’s Test series against India.© AFP’

“India’s cricketers have been in various bubbles for nearly a year now, and I can only imagine the stresses and apprehensions they must have endured, particularly in light of Rishabh Pant in England and Krunal Pandya in Sri Lanka testing Covid-positive. I hope the authorities have facilitated the availability of mental health counselors to whom the players can turn with trust should they so feel the need,” VVS Laxman added.

India’s upcoming five-match Test series against England which will start on August 4 will reportedly begin the second cycle of the ICC World Test Championship 2021-23. The inaugural cycle of the WTC 2019-21 came to an end earlier this month with New Zealand beating India in the final at Southampton to win the title.

International Cricket Council – AFP File Photo
International Cricket Council – AFP File Photo
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International Cricket Council Allots The Same Number Of Points For Every Test In 2nd Edition Of WTC (2021-23)

International Cricket Council [ICC] has confirmed the points system for the second edition of the ICC World Test Championship [WTC] (2021-23) as well as the fixtures that will take place during the two-year cycle, commencing August 04 with India playing against hosts England in a 5 Test affair.

Just like the previous cycle, the upcoming two-year phase will see nine International Cricket Council Full-member teams play a total of six Test series- three at home and three away- of varying lengths with the cut-off date being March 31. 2023.

International Cricket Council [ICC] World Test Championship [WTC]
International Cricket Council [ICC] World Test Championship [WTC]

International Cricket Council Allots The Same Number Of Points For Every Test

However, unlike the previous WTC cycle where the maximum points for every series regardless of its length were fixed- 120, this time, the International Cricket Council has decided to allow the same number of points for every Test. As per the updated system, each Test match will now carry a weightage of 12 points while a drawn and tied Test will fetch 4 and 6 points respectively.

However, the standing in the points table, just like the inaugural cycle, will be determined on percentage points accumulated.

Virat Kohli, Joe Root
Virat Kohli, Joe Root

The second WTC cycle will commence from August 04 when the runners-up of the inaugural cycle, India, locks horns with Joe Root’s England in the first Test of a five-match series. New Zealand is, of course, the defending champions, having beaten India in the inaugural final last month.

Meanwhile, International Cricket Council Acting CEO George Allardice has said that the changes have been made in order to simplify the points system besides taking learnings from the Covid-forced disruptions 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.

“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. ” International Cricket Council Acting CEO George Allardice said.

The cycle that runs from August 2021 to June 2023 will see just two series of five matches – the upcoming England and India Tests and the Ashes in December this year. Australia’s tour of India in 2022 will be the only series of the cycle to have four Tests. Overall, there will be seven three-match Test series and 13 two-match Test series.

Skippers Kane Williamson, Virat Kohli, And Joe Root Opens Up On Previous WTC And Next One

The winning captain of the inaugural WTC, Kane Williamson, said that it was pretty special to win the coveted price last month and he is already looking forward to defending the title over the course of the next two years.

“It was obviously pretty special to win the inaugural WTC and it’s exciting to now look ahead to the second edition. 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.

“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.”Kane said.

New Zealand's Kane Williamson celebrates with the trophy and teammates after winning the final of the ICC World Test Championship. Photograph: John Sibley/Reuters
New Zealand’s Kane Williamson celebrates with the trophy and teammates after winning the final of the International Cricket Council’s World Test Championship. Photograph: John Sibley/Reuters

Meanwhile, Indian captain Virat Kohli said that the inaugural WTC captured the imagination of fans around the world and it was a great feeling for him and his team to play the first-ever final of the championship. He said that the team is looking forward to regrouping after a disappointing end when they lock horns with England.

“It was great to have played the final of the WTC 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. 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, hoping to give our fans a lot to cheer about,” he said.

Joe Root, on the other hand, expressed his disappointment at the fact that England barely missed out on qualification last year. He, however, added that playing against the finalists of the last edition in India in their first WTC-2 assignment will be a great chance for them to test themselves against a quality side.

 “We start our campaign against the finalists of last time, which is an interesting challenge straight away. India is 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. Test cricket is a format we all want to excel in and with points at stake for each match, everyone has to be at their best all the time,”he said.

India plays England(away), New Zealand(home), South Africa (away), Sri Lanka(home), Australia(home), and Bangladesh(away) in the International Cricket Council’s World Test Championship’s 2nd edition.

Rohit Sharma
Rohit Sharma
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Reetinder Singh Sodhi Names Rohit Sharma As The Best Batsman In The World

Reetinder Singh Sodhi, the former Indian cricketer described the Indian opener as the best batsman in the world and said he can take the match away from oppositions while speaking ahead of India’s five-match Test series against hosts England.

Former India all-rounder Reetinder Singh Sodhi lauded India opener Rohit Sharma and said that the right-handed batsman has stamped his authority in Test cricket. While Rohit Sharma has been a mainstay for India in the limited-overs format for several years now, it took a while for him to become a consistent Test team member.

Reetinder Singh Sodhi. Photo Credit: Getty Images.
Reetinder Singh Sodhi. Photo Credit: Getty Images.

Reetinder Singh Sodhi: Opener Rohit Sharma In His Elegance Is The Best Batsman In The World

Rohit Sharma’s superb performances as an opener in the Test series against South Africa in 2019 made his way into the team, and he solidified the position with consistent starts over the past two years.

He managed to get starts in both innings of the World Test Championship final but, could not carry them forward to put on a big total in the match. Speaking ahead of India’s five-match Test series, Reetinder Singh Sodhi described Rohit Sharma as the best batsman in the world and said he can take the match away from oppositions.

“A lot here depends on Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, and Cheteshwar Pujara – how these three batsmen catch form in the upcoming series. We all know that, in his elegance, Rohit Sharma is the best batsman in the world,” Reetinder Singh Sodhi said on India News.

Rohit Sharma
Rohit Sharma. Image Credits: Twitter

“He was definitely struggling in Test cricket if we talk about sometime back but now he has stamped his authority in Test cricket. He is a special player as an opener, when he plays he can take the match away for the opposition in a matter of moments,” he added.

The India and England Test series will begin on August 4th.

Rohit Sharma Had Scored 1094 Runs In First WTC Cycle

Rohit Sharma has amassed 1094 runs in 12 Tests averaging 60.77 in the WTC cycle of 2019-21. He has scored four centuries. His highest score came against South Africa when he smashed 212 runs in an innings.  His first outing as a Test match opener was against South Africa at home and he smashed a century in both innings of the match and followed it with a double century as well.

Virat Kohli with Rohit Sharma
Virat Kohli with Rohit Sharma IMAGE: AFP

In Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane, Rishabh Pant, and Rohit Sharma, India possess one of the strongest batting line-ups but they failed when it mattered most-the WTC Final. However, they will look to make amends in the 5 Tests that follow against hosts England.

India though will be tempted to bring in changes with opener Shubman Gill injured and Cheteshwar Pujara out of form. That could pave the way for the likes of KL Rahul, Hanuma Vihari, and Mayank Agarwal.

Rohit Sharma has scored 1094 runs as an opener in 19 innings averaging 60.78 and has 4 tons including his career-best score of 212. Rohit Sharma struggled for consistency initially in his Test career but that he has transformed into a fine batsman after starting to open the innings in the longest format for India as late as 2019.

Aakash Chopra
Aakash Chopra. (Photo Source: Twitter)
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Team Topping WTC Table Should Host The Final, Says Aakash Chopra

Aakash Chopra feels the team that tops the World Test Championship (WTC) points table in the 2021-23 cycle should host the tournament final. The ICC has announced the schedule for the next WTC cycle 2021-23 along with a few changes to the points system. However, the host nation for the all-important final is yet to be decided.

The nine Test teams will play a total of six series: three home and three away just like the previous edition. 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.

Aakash Chopra
Aakash Chopra. (Photo Source: Twitter)

Aakash Chopra Suggested Team Topping The WTC Points Table Should Host The Final

In a video shared on his YouTube channel, Aakash Chopra suggested that the table-toppers at the end of the WTC league phase should have the privilege of hosting the final.

“There are a couple of suggestions. You will not be able to change anything else as you have already announced that there will be only six series and home and away will have the same weightage but I have a suggestion for the final. The team that tops the WTC table should host the final.”

Virat Kohli, Image Source : AP IMAGE
Virat Kohli, Image Source: AP IMAGE

The former Indian batsman added that this should be the case if it is a one-off encounter.

“You might have to move the final two-three months here or there because of that but it is fine if you are playing just one match. If you are going to have three, it is great, then you can do it anywhere.”

Several cricketers and former players, including Virat Kohli and Ravi Shastri, have asked for the WTC final to be a multi-match series. It will be interesting to see if the ICC can accommodate such a format, considering it would require almost a month in an already congested cricketing calendar.

The next WTC Final will now be played in 2023 and Virat Kohli like coach Ravi Shastri and former legendary batsman Sachin Tendulkar feels one match is not enough to determine the winners. Virat Kohli also felt that a three-match Test series will give both sides a good chance of making a comeback after losing the first game.

Aakash Chopra  Wants The Toss Be Removed In The WTC Final

Aakash Chopra also wants the visiting team to have the right to bat or field first in such a scenario. Aakash Chopra wants the toss to be done away in the all-important WTC final.

He explained: “When you are doing this, you should eliminate the toss. You should give the toss to the visitor, he can decide but it should happen where the hosts are.”

WTC Final: Kane Williamson's New Zealand wins the toss and opts to field , BCCI Twitter
WTC Final: Kane Williamson’s New Zealand wins the toss and opts to field BCCI Twitter

The 43-year-old signed off by stating that the hosts being part of the WTC final will also ensure that the stadium is filled with fans.

“When you do it in the host nation, there will be huge crowds which you are always worried about. So you will not have to think too much about that.”

While these are interesting suggestions, the ICC is likely to prefer pre-defined dates and a fixed venue for the WTC final. While fans did not get the desired start on Day 1 of the final clash between India and New Zealand in the inaugural World Test Championship (WTC), Day 2 saw Kane Willaimson’s side win the toss and opt to field at the Ageas Bowl in Southampton which later saw New Zealand winning the final by 8 wickets.

Virat Kohli, Joe Root
Virat Kohli, Joe Root
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India’s Upcoming 5-Match Test Series Against England To Begin The 2nd Cycle Of ICC WTC

India’s upcoming five-match Test series against England which will start on August 4 will reportedly begin the second cycle of the ICC World Test Championship 2021-23. The inaugural cycle of the WTC 2019-21 came to an end earlier this month with New Zealand beating India in the final at Southampton to win the title.

The cycle that runs from August 2021 to June 2023 will see just two series of five matches – the upcoming England and India Tests and the Ashes in December this year. Australia’s tour of India in 2022 will be the only series of the cycle to have four Tests.

New Zealand's Kane Williamson celebrates with the trophy and teammates after winning the final of the ICC World Test Championship. Photograph: John Sibley/Reuters
New Zealand’s Kane Williamson celebrates with the trophy and teammates after winning the final of the ICC World Test Championship. Photograph: John Sibley/Reuters

India Will Play 19 Tests After England Who Will Play Most 21 Tests While Inaugural WTC Winners New Zealand Will Play Only 13 Tests

Overall, there will be seven three-match Test series and 13 two-match Test series. As was the case with the inaugural WTC, each of the nine teams will continue to play a total of six series – three home and three away – as part of the championship. Virat Kohli’s team takes on Joe Root’s side in a 5-match series starting August 4; this series is the only other series than The Ashes 2021-22 to comprise 5 Tests in this WTC cycle. Australia’s tour of India next year is the only four-Test series in WTC 2; there are 7 three-Test series and 13 two-series.

India's Skipper Virat Kohli With England Skipper Joe Root
India’s Skipper Virat Kohli With England Skipper Joe Root (Image Credit: Twitter)

While Joe Root’s England is scheduled to play the maximum number of Tests (21) during the 2nd cycle, WTC 1 runners up India is second with 19 Tests followed by Australia (18) and South Africa (15). The new World champion New Zealand is scheduled to play just 13 Tests, one less than Pakistan and as many as West Indies and Sri Lanka.

New Points System In Place For WTC 2

ICC has decided to allot each Test the same number of points. The winning team will get 12 points, whereas a draw will result in four points each while a tie will see the opponents awarded six points each.

Additionally, teams are set to be penalized for slow over-rates. For every over that the team falls behind, one point will be deducted from their overall tally. The schedule and venue for the final are yet to be decided. In the inaugural cycle, each series rather than a Test was worth the same number of points.

ICC logo
ICC logo. (Credits: Web)

“The aim was to try and simplify the points system and to allow teams to be meaningfully compared on the table at any point, though they may have played differing numbers of matches and series,” ICC’s acting chief executive officer Geoff Allardice was quoted as saying.

Kane Williamson’s New Zealand won the Test mace and are ranked the number 1 ICC Test side after defeating India in the final in Southampton last week. The venue for the final of WTC 2 has not been decided yet.

These bilateral series were finalized by the Full Member Boards in 2018 before the ICC locked them into the 2019-23 Future Tours Programme. None of the series that was cut short or postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic in the first WTC cycle, will be carried forward into the second cycle. Bangladesh is the only country among the nine contestants to play two matches in each of their six series in WTC 2.

Kane Williamson. Photo: @ICC
Kane Williamson. Photo: @ICC
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One Off Final Never Really Tells The Whole Picture: Kane Williamson

Kane Williamson, the captain of New Zealand’s World Test Championship-winning side was of the view that a one-off final provides an exciting set-up but can never really depict an entire picture about how formidable Virat Kohli’s Indian team is.

New Zealand beat India by eight wickets in the rain-affected WTC final in Southampton on the reserve 6th day with Kane Williamson scoring an unbeaten half-century in a modest 139-run chase.

New Zealand's Kane Williamson celebrates with the trophy and teammates after winning the final of the ICC World Test Championship. Photograph: John Sibley/Reuters
New Zealand’s Kane Williamson celebrates with the trophy and teammates after winning the final of the ICC World Test Championship. Photograph: John Sibley/Reuters

Kane Williamson: India’s Loss In The WTC Final Doesn’t Take Anything Away From Their Formidable Strength

India topped the points table in the inaugural WTC cycle (2019-21) with 12 wins, four losses, and a draw. New Zealand, meanwhile, reached the summit clash after playing the least number of games among the top-eight teams – 11 – winning seven of them.

“The set-up provides excitement. One-off final, it never really tells the whole picture,” Williamson told the ‘India Today’ channel.

“As we know, this Indian team is a formidable side. It’s a great side and we are proud to achieve a win in this match but it doesn’t take away anything from the fact that how strong they are and what quality they have.”

“No doubt they will win plenty more, you know their quality. They are relentless, they have a pace attack which is best in the world, incredible spin bowlers and batting need no mention. The depth that they have created,” Williamson waxed eloquent.

Kane Williamson termed the Indian cricketers as great ambassadors of the game and also simply loves the kind of passion their fans have for their national side.

“Emotion that a country brings for sport, we can all appreciate having India and their passion is rewarding. They (players) hold themselves as ambassadors of the game,” he added.

Kane Williamson (AP)
Kane Williamson (AP)

Kane Williamson felt that all three results were possible in various percentages going into the final 6th reserve day, but admitted everyone perhaps felt that with lack of time, a draw looked the most imminent result.

“For us it was very much going in the day, expecting every result was realistic and trying to do as well as we could. Nothing different from the last few days and see how games unfurl and opportunity arises.”

Kane Williamson agreed that getting Virat Kohli and Cheteshwar Pujara out early did set it up nicely for them.

“It was great to take early wickets on that, that set up more chances of result on that day. India team counter-attacked after that and India had a fair shot too. The surface was offering to bowlers. It was intense for us,” the Balck caps skipper said.

Ajinkya Rahane was one of six batsmen to have registered more than 1000 runs in the current WTC cycle(1095 runs). Rohit Sharma (1030) was the other Indian batsman to be in the top six. Ravichandran Ashwin(67 scalps) was also one of five bowlers in the world to have taken more than 50 wickets in the current WTC cycle.

Kane Williamson: Kyle Jamieson Is Vital For New Zealand

Kane Williamson was adjudged leg before wicket by on-field umpire Michael Gough of off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin’s bowling but he reviewed the decision to get a favourable result.

“It was close because you were given out. I thought the way Ravi turns (off-break) the ball, I thought it might give us a chance. Nice to review it and it came my way.”

Kyle Jamieson, AFP
Kyle Jamieson, AFP

Kane Williamson termed Kyle Jamieson as a “brilliant player” who “brings in the real point of difference”.

“He is a brilliant player. New to the international scene and just brought his own attitude, the ‘team first’ attitude, wanting to contribute with ball and bat as well. It is vital for us. He has bowled so many significant spells. Has a huge appetite to learn and improve. He wants to bowl and bowl and brings in the real point of difference,” he concluded.

The architects of New Zealand’s victory were Kane Williamson(49 and 52*), Kyle Jamieson (5/31 in the 1st innings), and Tim Southee (4/48 in the 2nd innings). New Zealand was so disciplined with the ball throughout the match that they didn’t let an Indian batsman score a fifty in the entire Test. Kyle Jamieson was named Man of the Match for his match-winning spell in the first innings as he became the first bowler to pick a five-wicket haul in the WTC final.

World Test Championship, India
Indian test team[photo: Twitter]
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Kapil Dev Defends Indian Team Despite WTC Final Loss Against New Zealand

Kapil Dev has defended the Indian team after their humbling eight-wicket defeat to eventual WTC winner New Zealand in the World Test Championship final in Southampton. The 1983 World Cup-winning captain said the media often goes overboard with its unfair criticism after every poor outing of India and tends to overlook the better performances in the tournament.

The WTC final loss was India’s fifth loss straight in an ICC knockout since 2013 as it brought up perceptions that Virat Kohli’s men succumb under the pressure of the big occasion. Kapil Dev, though, insisted that reaching a final or semi-final in tournaments is an achievement in itself.

Virat Kohli
Virat Kohli[photo: Twitter]

Kapil Dev: One Can’t Win The Trophy Every Time

Kapil Dev added that the Indian team has won innumerable games under similar situations, so one poor outing shouldn’t define them.

“Tell me one thing: they are reaching the semi-final or final each and every time, isn’t that an achievement in itself? We criticise very quickly. You can’t win the trophy every time. Look at how well they played. If they lose one match here or the World Cup semi-final, does that mean they are succumbing to pressure? No, that’s not how it goes.”

Kapil Dev, BCCI
Kapil Dev, BCCI

“They (the opposition) had a better day,; they played better. We see it very critically – one bad performance and the media shows it a hundred times: ‘These guys can’t take the pressure, can’t take pressure’. We have all won a lot of games under the same pressure as well,” Kapil Dev said on Sports Yaari’s YouTube channel.

India topped the points table in the inaugural WTC cycle (2019-21) with 12 wins, four losses, and a draw. New Zealand, meanwhile, reached the summit clash after playing the least number of games among the top-eight teams – 11 – winning seven of them.

Ajinkya Rahane was one of six batsmen to have registered more than 1000 runs in the current WTC cycle(1095 runs). Rohit Sharma (1030) was the other Indian batsman to be in the top six. Ravichandran Ashwin(67 scalps) was also one of five bowlers in the world to have taken more than 50 wickets in the current WTC cycle.

Virat Kohli’s Men To Face England In A 5 Match Test Series

Virat Kohli might have failed to stamp his legacy in the WTC final, but he will get an opportunity to redeem himself in just a few weeks when India faces England in a 5 match Test series. India’s last Test series win in England came in 2007. In 2018, they looked the most competitive in over a decade but lost the series 4-1.

India’s 2007 triumph in England AFP
India’s 2007 triumph in England AFP

The upcoming five Tests against Joe Root’s men will give Virat Kohli-led India arguably the best opportunity to set the record straight in England. An emphatic series win would not only heal the wounds of the past few years but also clear any doubts about the team’s future prospects. The first Test of the marquee five-match series will commence on August 4 at Trent Bridge.

England played the most Tests in the World Test Championship, with no team matching their tally of 21. India was second with 17 matches, while bottom-placed Bangladesh played just seven Tests. England won 11 Tests losing 7 while 3 were drawn. India won 12 Tests, lost 4, and drew 1. New Zealand who qualified for WTC Final won 7 Tests and lost 4. Australia won 8, lost 4, and drew 2.

Sourav Ganguly- Twitter
Sourav Ganguly- Twitter
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Sourav Ganguly Pleased With Indian Team’s Achievement In The WTC Cycle 2019-2021

Sourav Ganguly was extremely pleased with the Indian team’s achievement in the span of two years (WTC cycle from 2019-2021) and lauded the chief contributors of their run-up to the WTC final although India could not be crowned the World Champions of Test cricket as they lost the final to New Zealand by 8 wickets.

India may have missed the opportunity to be crowned the winner of the inaugural ICC World Test Championship, but that does not take anything away from the insurmountable amount of effort and hard work the team had put together to reach the final.

New Zealand's Kane Williamson celebrates with the trophy and teammates after winning the final of the ICC World Test Championship. Photograph: John Sibley/Reuters
New Zealand’s Kane Williamson celebrates with the trophy and teammates after winning the final of the ICC World Test Championship. Photograph: John Sibley/Reuters

Sourav Ganguly: Everyone Contributed To WTC Journey

A journey that began right after India’s exit from the 2019 World Cup semi-final, culminated in them reaching the final of the first-ever inaugural WTC, with the team playing some incredible cricket in Australia and against England earlier this year.

Virat Kohli with Rohit Sharma
Virat Kohli with Rohit Sharma IMAGE: AFP

Former captain and current BCCI president Sourav Ganguly was extremely pleased with what the team has achieved in the WTC cycle and was full of praise for the chief contributors of their run-up to the WTC final.

“Everyone has contributed to this WTC journey. Ajinkya Rahane has been the highest scorer for India in the WTC. Don’t forget Mohammed Shami and Ishant Sharma. For Ishant, a fast bowler, to have played 100 Tests, is not a mean achievement. After Kapil Dev, he is the only Indian pace bowler to have done so. There have been worthy contributions from Rohit Sharma, Rahane, and skipper Virat Kohli. Ravichandran Ashwin has performed with the ball right through,” Sourav Ganguly told The Week Magazine in an interview.

Ajinkya Rahane was one of six batsmen to have registered more than 1000 runs in the current WTC cycle(1095 runs). Rohit Sharma (1030) was the other Indian batsman to be in the top six. Ravichandran Ashwin(67 scalps) was also one of five bowlers in the world to have taken more than 50 wickets in the current WTC cycle.

Rishabh Pant (69.17) and Rohit Sharma (SR 64.49) had been the most aggressive batsmen with more than 300 runs across all teams in the WTC cycle.  Virat Kohli’s unbeaten 254 against South Africa was the highest score.

Sourav Ganguly: In The Next WTC Cycle, There Will Be Some Tweaks

After the success of the inaugural WTC cycle, it is imminent that the second tournament is on the cards, and while Sourav Ganguly seemed excited by the prospect of it, he mentioned that there may be a few tweaks given how the Covid situation unfolds in cricket-playing nations.

“Both India and New Zealand have played well, and that is why they are in the final. As for the qualification criteria, it was based on the percentage of wins. Hopefully, in the next WTC cycle, there will be some tweaks. Last year, due to Covid-19, lots of matches and series were canceled. Hopefully, the next cycle will take all this into account,” Ganguly added.

Sourav Ganguly. (Photo Source: Twitter)
Sourav Ganguly. (Photo Source: Twitter)

The schedule for the next World Test Championship cycle was announced as India’s ICC World Test Championship’s 2nd edition from 2021-2023 will begin with the 5-match Test series against England and end with the tour of Bangladesh.

India’s second assignment in the Test Championship (2021-23) will be against defending champions New Zealand at home. Their third assignment will be when they lock horns with South Africa in December-January in the Rainbow nation before hosting Sri Lanka in a 3-match Test series.

After a lengthy break from the longest format of the game, the team will then battle it out against Australia in the Border-Gavaskar Trophy, which will take place in the second half of 2022. The team’s second WTC campaign will conclude with a 2-match Test series against Bangladesh.

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