Australia has got an early win over India even before this summer’s Test series has begun.
The Aussies jumped to the top of the Test championship points table, leaping over India, after a COVID-19 forced tweak with plans proceeding for the first ever final in June 2021.
A change on how points would be awarded was announced by the International Cricket Council, with six Test series, including four involving Bangladesh, postponed or cancelled because of the pandemic.
Each of the nine top Test teams were originally scheduled to play six series each over two years in the World Test Championship, with the top two making the showcase final in London.
Now instead of getting points for each match, teams will be awarded a percentage of the total points that were up for grabs, depending on their results.
Before the recommendations were approved, India led the table with 360 points followed by Australia on 296.
But under the new system, India’s “score” is now 75 per cent – 360 out of the 480 points they played for in four series – placing them second behind Australia, who have a score of 82.2 per cent calculated as 296 out of the 360 points they played for across three series.
The Aussies have two Test series left before the end of the current cycle, against India at home and South Africa away next February, although that series is yet to be confirmed.
“The pandemic caused major disruptions to the cricket calendar. A number of series have been postponed and don’t look like they will be finished,” the ICC’s Geoff Allardice said.
“We had to assess whether the way the finishing positions were determined was fair and we decided to make a change on the matches that teams actually play.
“It gives a lot more team the chance of contesting the final. There’s probably five or six teams that are in strong contention of making the final.
“Finishing positions will be now be determined by the percentage of points a team wins from the matches they play to adjust for teams that may not complete all of their series.”
🇦🇺 Today's announcement means Australia jump past India to claim 🔝 spot in the ICC World Test Championship 🏆 pic.twitter.com/Pjitqfu2pg
ICC chief executive Manu Sawhney said that ranking teams based on points earned from completed matches reflected their performance and “doesn‘t disadvantage teams that have been unable to compete all of their matches through no fault of their own”.
The ICC board also decided against extending the Test championship cycle to allow teams to complete their quota of matches.
“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,” Sawhney said.
The ICC has decided against staging three major women‘s events in 2022, now having shifted the global Twenty20 event to 2023.
Next year‘s 50-overs World Cup in New Zealand has already been postponed to 2022 following the COVID-19 crisis, while women’s cricket will also make its Commonwealth Games debut in Birmingham that year too.
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