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England versus India Tests to kickstart second edition of the World Test Championship

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The five-match Test series between England and India that starts on August 4 will kick off the second cycle of the World Test Championship. The Pataudi Trophy will be the only five-match series alongside the Ashes in December in the second WTC cycle that runs from August 2021 to June 2023.

Australia's tour of India, in 2022, is the only four-Test series during this cycle. Furthermore, there will be seven three-Test series and 13 series comprising two Tests. The schedule and venue for the final is yet to be finalized by the ICC.

Similar to the first WTC cycle, the second edition will feature nine Test playing nations taking part in a total of six series, that are further bifurcated into three home and three away series each. 

These bilateral series were finalised by the Full Member Boards in 2018 itself before they were locked by the ICC for the 2019-23 Future Tours Programme. The series that were cut short in the first WTC cycle due to the pandemic shall not be carried forward to the next.

India, England and Australia will once again be a part of the big-ticket series while the other six nations will play in a series that has either two or three Tests at the maximum.

England will be playing the most Tests (21) followed by India (19), Australia (18) and South Africa (15). The inaugural WTC winners New Zealand will play only 13 matches, the same as West Indies and Sri Lanka while Pakistan will play 14 Tests. Bangladesh are the only nation to play two matches in each of their six series in WTC 2.

The points system - 12 for a win, 4 for a draw, 6 for a tie

ICC has decided to allow the same number of points for each match to avoid discrepancies later on. Each match in the second WTC cycle will carry 12 points. A draw and a tie shall have four and six points respectively. As for slow over-rate penalties, teams will be docked one point for every fall behind.

Explaining the change in the points system between the two cycles to ESPNcricinfo, ICC's acting chief executive officer Geoff Allardice said, “ Instead of each series being worth the same number of points, 120, irrespective of whether the series is played over two Tests or five Tests, the next cycle will see each match being worth the same number of points - a maximum of 12 per match.

"Teams will be ranked on the percentage of available points they won from the matches they have played. 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."

This is a significant improvement in the points system than what ICC had used in the previous World Test Championship. In the first edition, the international body awarded a maximum of 120 points per series irrespective of the number of matches that were played in it.

This created a lot of confusion not only amongst fans but also amongst the the teams.

Featured photo : Glyn Kirk / AFP

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