The ICC, in the wake of uncertainty over the possibility of suspended World Test Championship (WTC) matches getting rescheduled, are reportedly mulling over the idea of splitting points for all unplayed matches. No less than a dozen Tests had to be postponed due to the impending Covid-19 threat.
The inaugural World Test Championship kicked off with the Ashes series between England and Australia in 2019, and while the idea was gliding along smoothly for over 10 months, it stumbled upon a roadblock in the form of the Coronavirus pandemic. The imminent Covid-19 threat across the world led to a temporary shutdown of cricket between March and July 2020 and what that, in turn, meant was indefinite postponements and suspensions of Test matches and series’ that were part of the World Test Championship cycle.
Multiple bilateral Test series that were part of the WTC, including Sri Lanka vs England, Bangladesh vs Australia and Sri Lanka vs Bangladesh, were indefinitely postponed due to the pandemic and with less than eight months left for the final, that was scheduled to be held in June 2021 in England, the International Cricket Council are currently facing a race against time to reschedule suspended matches.
So with the likelihood of all postponed matches getting rescheduled looking bleak with every passing day, particularly due to the persisting effects of the Covid-19 virus, reports have now emerged that the ICC are mulling splitting points for unplayed games in the WTC.
According to ESPNCricinfo, with time running out, splitting points for matches part of the WTC that have not been played is a solution that the ICC are pondering. The reason behind the same is said to be ‘to have clarity in place by the time the next WTC commitment begins’. Such a tweak, according to the report, would be within the regulations, as the council would apply the same logic that is used in case of draws/washouts.
“Splitting the points would be within the regulations as they stand, whereby all Tests in the cycle that can't be played (through no fault of either side) are deemed draws. In that scenario, both sides receive a third of the points available for a Test (120 points are available for every series). Basing it on percentages of points played for would require a tweak to existing regulations,” the report from ESPNCricinfo read.
The improved Covid-19 situation in a select few countries has worked in the council’s favour, though, as on the back of England completing their home summer a couple of months ago, New Zealand and Australia will also play out a chunk of their matches in the forthcoming months, due to the Covid-19 situation in the countries being under control. India, who have already played 9 matches, will also, in all likelihood, play no less than 9 Tests (4 vs Australia and 5 vs England) inside the next five months. There has, however, been no official word from the ICC on the matter.
As things stand, India sit atop of the WTC table with 360 points, with Australia (296 pts) and England (292 pts) occupying the second and third positions respectively.