Dissecting ICC’s World Test Championship Table

Adrian Meredith has his say on the ICC World Test Championship.

The ICC’s World Test Championship has begun! And it has declared that India are four times better than the second best team New Zealand, Australia are only the fourth best team, in spite of an amazing effort in retaining the Ashes in England, and India have more points than the rest of the team combined.

Is that fair?

It contradicts the actual ICC test rankings, which, while it still has India in number one spot, and New Zealand in second, has a gap of 10 points, from 119 to 109, and seems somewhat fairer and more accurate.

So what is the benefit of this World Test Championship point system?

The logic was that it would reward teams for winning test series, not individual test matches, and allocated 120 points per test series, regardless of how many test matches, effectively rewarding teams for winning 2-test series more than those who played in 5-test series, and ignoring the benefit of teams who managed to win away from home.

The one part that is not controversial is that they awarded one-third of the points if a team drew the test.

The current points system per test win is as follows:

This contradicts logic for how important matches are. In reality, the longer the series, the more important each individual test match is, and points should be allocated accordingly. Consider this change:

2-test series: 15 points per test
3-test series: 20 points per test
4-test series: 25 points per test
5-test series: 30 points per test

Then, as Virat Kohli, the captain of India said, they should award more points for away wins.

And they also should average it per team.

This results in the following scores per team:

Australia: 60 + 60 + 20 = 140 points (was 56)
India: 30 + 30 + 20 + 20 + 20 = 120 points (was 240)
England: 30 + 30 + 10 = 70 points (was 56)
New Zealand: 30 points (was 60)
Sri Lanka: 15 points (was 60)

The rankings therefore should be as follows:

  1. Australia 140 points from five Tests average 28
  2. India 120 points from five Tests average 24
  3. New Zealand 30 points from two Tests average 15
  4. England 70 points from five Tests average 14
  5. Sri Lanka 15 points from two Tests average 7.5

We also should probably put Pakistan and Bangladesh, who haven’t played a test, ahead of West Indies and South Africa, who each lost tests.

6. Pakistan N/A
7. Bangladesh N/A
8. West Indies 0 points from two Tests
9. South Africa 0 points from three Tests

While India can quite reasonably claim some success in winning two small series, and being on a 5-0 unbeaten run, there is no way to honestly suggest that it was more impressive than Australia’s away Ashes draw over England, nor that it warrants giving them first place with four times the score of second.

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