ICC Test Championship: With the emergence of T-20 cricket in the last decade, the popularity of Test Cricket has seen a dip in recent times. And thus, to add excitement and bring some interest back to cricket’s oldest format, the International Cricket Council has introduced ICC World Test Championship which will run for a period of two years.
The top nine teams will play a total of 27 series between them for two years with each team playing three home and three away series. The top two teams in the points table will face each other in the final with the winner being crowned as the Test Championship.
The top nine teams which have qualified in the Test Championship are India, Australia, New Zealand, England, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, West Indies, Bangladesh, and South Africa.
In the article, we have predicted the positions of the teams at the end of ICC Test Championships, taking into account the team balance and their recent performances in Test cricket.
With two special talents in Virat Kohli and Jasprit Bumrah in the side, India will be one of the toughest sides to face in the Test matches. With an eye on Test Championship title, India is off to a perfect start having registered an emphatic 318-run win against West Indies. Team India will face some of the toughest sides in England, Australia, and South Africa ahead.
Home fixtures – Bangladesh (2 Tests), England (5 Tests), South Africa (3 Tests)
Away fixtures – Australia (4 Tests), New Zealand (2 Tests), West Indies (2 Tests)
With the coming of Steve Smith and David Warner in the side, Australian Test Team are once again all set to hunt with an eye on a top spot in the ICC Test Championship. Steve Smith recently displayed a heroic performance in the first Ashes test, helping his side win the first match of the series. Boasting of the likes of Smith and Warner in the batting department and Starc, Cummins, Hazlewood in the bowling department, Australia would be keen to showcase good performances ahead of their upcoming fixtures.
Home fixtures – India (4 Tests), New Zealand (3 Tests), Pakistan (2 Tests)
Away fixtures – Bangladesh (2 Tests), England (5 Tests), South Africa (3 Tests)
For the first time in the history of the game, England won their first-ever World Cup, held in 2019. England’s side has seen drastic revival in the last couple of years, having seen a change in fortune in both the Tests and One-day Internationals. The ongoing Ashes is series is currently tied at 1-1, with the momentum on their side.
Home fixtures – Australia (5 Tests), Pakistan (3 Tests), West Indies (3 Tests)
Away fixtures – India (5 Tests), South Africa (4 Tests), Sri Lanka (2 Tests)
#4. South Africa
Experienced campaigners with the likes of AB De Villiers, Hashim Amla, and Dale Steyn have announced retirement from Test Cricket as the onus will be on the shoulders of Faf Du Plessis, Quinton de Kock, and Kagiso Rabada to make an impact on the ICC Test Championship. South Africa is currently sitting at the third position in the ICC test rankings.
Home fixtures – Australia (3 Tests), England (4 Tests), Sri Lanka (2 Tests)
Away fixtures – India (3 Tests), Pakistan (2 Tests), West Indies (2 Tests)
#5. New Zealand
New Zealand has played the last four out five-Test series at home, winning all of them. With a good mix of experience and young talents, the batting looks solid while the bowling department is too stocked with experience of Southee and Boult. New Zealand first tie against Sri Lanka has resulted in a 1-1 draw, as they will play against the likes of Australia, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka in their upcoming fixtures.
Home fixtures – India (2 Tests), Pakistan (2 Tests), West Indies (3 Tests)
Away fixtures – Australia (3 Tests), Bangladesh (2 Tests), Sri Lanka (2 Tests)
Much like Bangladesh, Pakistan is also languishing at the bottom half of the table, having managed to win just two series out of their last six. Barring Babar Azam, Pakistan side has been short of match-winners with Mohammad Hafeez, Sarfaraz Khan not at their prime form. Adding to that, their bowling department has recently been suffered from a heavy loss with Mohammad Amir announcing retirement from Test cricket.
Home fixtures – Bangladesh (2 Tests), Sri Lanka (2 Tests), South Africa (2 Tests)
Away fixtures – Australia (2 Tests), England (3 Tests), New Zealand (2 Tests)
Bangladesh is currently languishing at ninth position in the points table with just 65 points. Tigers have put on good performances in the recent test series, though results would tell you otherwise.
In the last two years, Bangladesh has tasted defeat against West Indies, Sri Lanka, and South Africa and looking at their upcoming home and away fixtures, they will have to fight their skins out if want to make an upset in the tournament.
Bangladesh’s have two challenging home fixtures in the form of Australia and New Zealand, while they will tour to India, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka for the away matches.
Home fixtures – Australia (2 Tests), New Zealand (2 Tests), West Indies (3 Tests)
Away fixtures – India (2 Tests), Pakistan (2 Tests), Sri Lanka (3 Tests)
#8. Sri Lanka
Ever since Sri Lankan veteran players like Kumar Sangakkara, Mahela Jayawardene, and Tilakaratne Dilshan have left the International cricket, Sri Lankan cricket has been left with no leaders to lead the team forward.
Looking at the current Sri Lankan side, the team isn’t left with a lot of match-winners but given their upcoming fixtures, they would fancy their chances in the ICC Test Championship.
Sri Lanka has completed one home series fixture, resulting in a series tie against New Zealand1-1. The other two home series are against Bangladesh and England, while they will also play three away series against Pakistan, South Africa, and West Indies.
Home fixtures – Bangladesh (3 Tests), England (2 Tests), New Zealand (2 Tests)
Away fixtures – Pakistan (2 Tests), South Africa (2 Tests), West Indies (2 Tests)
#9. West Indies
There used to be a time when West Indies dominated Test Cricket, winning every series they participated in. However, things changed gradually and the Carribeans today are seen as one of the weakest Test-playing nations in the world.
Unfortunately, West Indies have not been able to produce players which are suited to Test Cricket. While young talents have shown their mettle in limited-overs cricket, whether they would be able to adjust their game in the longer format or not is still a question.
West Indies will kick haven’t had a great start to the Championship, tasting defeat at the hands of Indian in the first test with one more test left to play. Post India series, they will play a two-match home series against South Africa and then Sri Lanka. Given India and South Africa’s performance in Tests, winning both the test series against the top sides perhaps would be a tough nut to crack.
As far as they’re away Test Series is concerned, West Indies will lock horns against Bangladesh, England, and New Zealand.
Home fixtures – India (2 Tests), South Africa (2 Tests), Sri Lanka (2 Tests)
Away fixtures – Bangladesh (3 Tests), England (3 Tests), New Zealand (3 Tests)