India goes down ICC test ranking due to pandemic

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Finals at the Lord’s in doubt; Australia has toppled the Virat Kohli-led side; England are in the third position

The International Cricket Council (ICC) on Thursday confirmed that the ICC World Test Championship points system will be amended due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Board approved a recommendation from the ICC Cricket Committee, headed by former Indian test skipper Anil Kumble, to change the competition terms for the event to determine how series affected by the global pandemic are accounted for on the points table. The World Test Championship table will be revised to rank teams based on the percentage of points earned from the series played, meaning teams will be ranked in order of percentage of points earned.

India was the leading the points table but with new rules, Australia has toppled the Virat Kohli-led side as Tim Paine-led side has 82.22 per cent points while India have 75.00 per cent points. England are in the third position with 60.83 per cent points while New Zealand are at fourth in the table.

“Both the Cricket Committee and Chief Executives Committee supported the approach of ranking teams based on completed matches and points earned as this reflects their performance and doesn’t disadvantage teams that have been unable to compete all of their matches though no fault of their own,” ICC Chief Executive Manu Sawhney said in an official statement.

“We explored a whole range of options, but our members felt strongly that we should proceed as planned with the first-ever World Test Championship Final in June next year,” he added. The unprecedented disruption caused by COVID-19 means, to date, just under half of the World Test Championship matches have been played, with that estimated to rise to more than 85 per cent by the end of the competition window.

Current regulations dictate that matches not completed shall be treated as a draw with points split. The Cricket Committee considered maintaining that status quo or determining the final World Test Championship League standings from matches played.

The Cricket Committee recommended the latter option, which was approved by the Chief Executives Committee and ratified by the Board, meaning teams will be ranked in order of percentage of points earned.

In what could be a huge blow for the inaugural edition of the World Test Championship, the International Cricket Council (ICC) may be forced to move the final of the event from the historic Lord’s due to lack of financial agreement between the international body and the English and Wales Cricket Board (ECB). Speaking to ANI, sources in the know of developments said that there have been ongoing discussions between the ICC and the ECB, and the situation doesn’t look promising at the moment.

“We could actually see the final of the World Test Championship set to be held from June 10 to 14 at the Lord’s moved to another venue. Too early to get into the exact details behind this, but there are certain financial issues that need immediate resolving if the final has to happen at the Lord’s and at the moment the clouds are grey is all I can say,” the source pointed.

Efforts to get in touch with ICC, on the same, failed as they did not respond to ANI’s queries on the matter.

The Test championship has already faced a lot of trouble with the coronavirus pandemic bringing life to a standstill across the globe which also saw bilateral ties between teams getting cancelled. The ICC on Thursday confirmed that the World Test Championship points system will be amended due to the pandemic.

The Board approved a recommendation from the ICC Cricket Committee, headed by former Indian Test skipper Anil Kumble, to change the competition terms for the event to determine how series affected by the global pandemic are accounted for on the points table.

The World Test Championship table will be revised to rank teams based on the percentage of points earned from the series played, meaning teams will be ranked in order of percentage of points earned. India was leading the points table but with new rules, Australia has toppled the Virat Kohli-led side as Tim Paine’s Aussies have 82.22 per cent points while India have 75.00 per cent points. England are in the third position with 60.83 per cent points while New Zealand are at fourth in the table.

The Test championship is not just a project close to the ICC’s heart, even stars like Kohli have made it clear how it is an integral part of the system, and winning it would be the ultimate cherry on the cake.

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