The inaugural World Test Championship (WTC) will reach its climax in Southampton next month as India take on New Zealand in the final to determine Test supremacy.

Although the International Cricket Council (ICC) is still trying to work out the best structure for the WTC, the format has received plenty of flak. From complex points system to disorganised scheduling, the initiative has not been received well by many.

Recently, England cricketer Stuart Broad expressed his displeasure on how skewed the World Test Championship points system has been. In fact, the pacer even questioned how the rules can favour some teams over others.

“The World Test Championship is a really good concept, I just don’t think it’s quite right yet,” the England pacer told the Press Association. “It’s a first-time effort. I can’t quite work out how a five-match Ashes series can be worth the same as India playing Bangladesh for two Tests. We had an opportunity, but the amount of cricket we play as an England side in the current system makes it very difficult to get into the final.”

World Test Championship points system: How it works

When the ICC launched the WTC, the rules suggested that a Test series will comprise a total of 120 points. Every team was scheduled to play six series (home and away), and a maximum of 720 points were up for grabs.

Distribution of points

In a two-match series, a Test win would get 60 points. 

In a three-match series, a win would get 40 points. 

In a four-match series, a win would get 30 points. 

In a five-match series, a win would get 24 points. 

In the event of a tie, points would be equally divided between the teams, while a drawn test would mean teams getting one-third of the points. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the ICC was forced to tweak the points system last year, creating more confusion in the cricketing fraternity.

How the WTC points system changed towards the end of 2020

The rankings were calculated according to percentage of points (POP). The POP is derived by establishing the percentage of points won by a team out of the total number of points contested in a series.

Before India beat Australia and England earlier this year, they had earned 360 points out of a maximum possible 480, giving India a POP of 75. On the other hand, Australia had 296 points out of 360 points, with a POP of 82.22.

Later, India finished their quota of six series on their way to the finals of the WTC. The total number of points at stake for India was 720. Out of which, India accumulated 600 points, with a percentage of 83.33.

How the latest WTC points system were determined

Initially, all teams were supposed to play six series with a maximum of 720 points at stake. For example, if a team earned a total of 480 points from the six series it participated in, then the percentage would be 66.67.

Similarly, if a team ended up playing only five series, then the maximum points for grabs was restricted to 600. Therefore, if a team got 480 points, then its percentage would have been 80.

In this case, the teams with better percentage got the ranking preference.

Photo by Saeed KHAN / AFP