Why the world test championship is good for Test cricket? Test cricket, the oldest and most prestigious format of the game, has often been seen as losing its relevance and appeal in the era of shorter and faster formats like T20s and ODIs. However, the introduction of the World Test Championship (WTC) by the International Cricket Council (ICC) in 2019 has changed that perception and brought back interest and excitement in test cricket among fans and players alike.
The WTC is a league competition for test cricket that involves the top nine teams playing series over two years with the top two teams qualifying for a World Test League Championship Final. The WTC aims to provide context and meaning to every test match and series, as well as a pinnacle event for the format
Here are some key factors why the world test championship is good for Test cricket
- Context and Meaningful Competition: The WTC introduced a structured tournament format, providing context to Test matches. It aimed to crown a definitive world champion in the longest format of the game. By assigning points to each Test match in a series, the championship created a sense of purpose and competitiveness, making every match more meaningful.
- Emphasis on Traditional Format: Test cricket, being the oldest and most traditional form of the game, has a unique charm and challenges that many players and fans deeply appreciate. The WTC highlighted the importance of this format and provided a platform to celebrate the skills and endurance required to succeed in Test cricket.
- Enhanced Broadcasting and Coverage: With the advent of advanced broadcasting technologies and increased media coverage, Test cricket has become more accessible to fans worldwide. The WTC matches received extensive television coverage, live streaming options, and improved commentary, making it easier for fans to follow the matches and engage with the game.
- Showcasing Test Cricket’s Greatest Rivalries: The WTC allowed cricket’s historic rivalries, such as the Ashes (Australia vs. England) and India vs. Pakistan, to be a part of the championship. These rivalries have a rich heritage and have produced some of the most memorable moments in Test cricket. The inclusion of such iconic clashes generated immense excitement among fans.
- Promoting Balanced and Competitive Cricket: The WTC’s point system, which rewards both wins and draws, encouraged teams to play an attacking brand of cricket while maintaining a balance between caution and aggression. This led to more competitive and closely contested matches, captivating fans with thrilling battles between bat and ball.
- Captivating Final Matches: The WTC Final, held between the top two teams in the championship standings, garnered tremendous interest and anticipation. The inaugural final between India and New Zealand in June 2021 witnessed high-quality cricket and a closely fought contest, further enhancing the prestige of Test cricket.
- Player Motivation and Recognition: The WTC provided an additional incentive for players to perform consistently in Test matches, as their contributions directly influenced their team’s chances of qualifying for the final. Moreover, the championship recognized individual brilliance through awards like the Player of the Match and Player of the Series, adding to the motivation of players.
The WTC has generated a lot of buzz and enthusiasm among cricket lovers, who have witnessed some of the most memorable and competitive test matches and series in recent times. Some of the highlights of the WTC include:
The historic day-night test match between India and Bangladesh at Kolkata in November 2019, was attended by more than 50,000 spectators and marked India’s first pink-ball test.
The epic comeback by India from being bowled out for 36 in Adelaide to winning the Border-Gavaskar Trophy 2-1 in Australia in January 2021, despite missing several key players due to injuries and personal reasons.
The nail-biting finish between England and Pakistan at Manchester in August 2020, where England chased down 277 with three wickets remaining thanks to a brilliant partnership between Jos Buttler and Chris Woakes.
The historic series win by New Zealand over Pakistan in January 2021, which secured their spot in the WTC final and made them the number one ranked test team for the first time3
The thrilling draw between Australia and India at Sydney in January 2021, where India batted out the entire fifth day with an injured Ravindra Jadeja and a defiant Rishabh Pant to save the match.
The stunning victory by West Indies over Bangladesh at Chattogram in February 2021, where they chased down 395 with three wickets remaining thanks to a record-breaking double century by Kyle Mayers on debut.
The WTC has also revived the interest and excitement among players, who have expressed their appreciation and motivation for playing in such a competitive and meaningful tournament which is why the world test championship is good for Test cricket. Some of the players’ quotes include:
- “It’s been great for Test cricket – it’s been great for all countries involved. It’s given every game context – it’s given every series context.” – Kane Williamson, New Zealand captain
- “It’s like a World Cup final for me. If we win this Test match we will be very happy because we have worked very hard since this cycle started.” – Virat Kohli, India captain
- “It’s something that I’ve been looking forward to for a long time now. It’s something that I’ve dreamed about as well – being part of a World Test Championship final.” – Joe Root, England captain
- “It’s very exciting. It’s something that hasn’t been done before so it adds that extra bit of spice to it.” – Tim Paine, Australia captain
The WTC has thus proven to be a successful initiative by the ICC to promote and celebrate test cricket, which is widely regarded as the ultimate test of skill, character and endurance for cricketers. The WTC has also created a new fan base for test cricket, who are eagerly following every match and series with anticipation and passion.
The WTC has truly revived the interest and excitement in test cricket among fans and players.
Overall, the World Test Championship has rekindled the love for Test cricket by infusing it with relevance, excitement, and competition. It has celebrated the traditional format of the game while capturing the imagination of fans and players alike, creating a platform for some of the most enthralling cricketing moments in recent years.
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