The ICC’s acting CEO has said teams will continue to be ranked based on percentage of points contested
The shift to a ranking based on the percentage of points contested, which came about thanks to the Covid-19 pandemic, will extend into the second (2021-23) edition of the World Test Championship, with one caveat. Instead of 120 points being available over each series, independent of the length of the series, every Test match will now carry an equal number of points. At the end of the WTC cycle, teams will be ranked based on the percentage of points accrued over all the matches they have played.
That shift allowed New Zealand, which was behind India, Australia and England in the points tally at the time, to leapfrog those teams and become the first team to make the inaugural WTC final after consecutive home series wins over West Indies and Pakistan. India’s historic 2-1 win in Australia, followed by a 3-1 victory at home against England, allowed them to book the second finalist’s slot and eventually finish on top of the WTC table.
Four days before the WTC final, Allardice said the ICC had decided to stick to the percentage-of-points-won methodology as it provided twin benefits. “We are going to stick with the percentage-of-points-won method to rank teams,” Allardice said. “When we looked at the first 12 months of the competition you had teams on a number of points, but it was all relative to how many series they had played. So one of the ways to compare teams on an ongoing basis is what proportion of the points that have been available in the matches they played have been actually won. And that percentage served us well in the second half of the Championship.
“The other thing is if we are using the percentage of points won we can put a standardised number of points per Test match. So it doesn’t matter if it is a two-Test series or a five-Test series, the same number of points will be available for each match that’s played, but every team would be judged on the percentage of those points it wins, not on total.”
The alteration in the points system was originally devised and recommended by the ICC Cricket Committee, which is headed by former India captain Anil Kumble. However, not everyone was impressed by the ICC’s move. Ahead of the four-Test Border-Gavaskar Trophy last year, India captain Virat Kohli said the amended points system was “confusing”. India had played four out of their six scheduled series in the WTC cycle at that point and were leading the table with 360 points. However, Australia, who had earned 296 points from three series, toppled India after the revision, with 82.22 percentage points (296 out of 360) compared to the latter’s 75 (360 out of 480).
Allardice understood the critics’ view, but said the ICC had had no option but to change the system. “The principle that we had when we created the competition was that every match in a series that was played as part of the Test Championship should count. The point system was also to try and reflect that a two-match series is worth the same as a five-match series. That was trying to make sure that everyone was playing for the same number of points in total, everyone was playing for the same number points home and away.
“One of things that happened during this cycle is that it became evident that not everyone was going to complete their six series as a result of some of the postponements due to Covid. So we left the final in the spot in the calendar where it was originally scheduled. But because we are going to have teams playing uneven number of series we needed to tweak to the points system to try and make it as fair as possible and to make sure it reflected the matches that they did play rather than too heavily influenced by they didn’t play.
“As it turned out it was a fair system. New Zealand didn’t play one series as a result of the Covid disruption las year, but they’ve still been able to qualify for the final through the strength of their performances in other series. So we prefer not to have changed the points system in the middle of a tournament but due to the circumstances of Covid and the need to ensure that the best two teams got to the final we thought it was necessary that it was approved at the end of last year.”
Allardice also said the suggestion of India coach Ravi Shastri to have a best-of-three final to determine the winner of the second edition of the WTC – was a good one but not “realistic”, due to the lack of a free window for such an event in the cricket calendar.
“In a perfect world a three-Test series would be a great way to decide the World Test Championship,” Allardice said. “But the reality (of) the international cricket schedule is we are just not going to have [a situation where] blocking out a month or so for all the teams in the tournament for the final is realistic. That’s why one-match final was decided upon. Why it is quite exciting is because it brings something new. Here were are – we’ve got a one-off Test match to decide the best team in the world over this two-year cycle.”
Draw “certainly a valid result”
Allardice was asked whether it was fair on the two finalists in case the match were to end in a draw due to rain interruptions. Announcing the WTC prize money on Monday, the ICC said both teams would share the Test mace, and the pot of USD 2.4 million, in case of a draw.
“One of the idiosyncrasies of Test cricket is that the draw is a result,” Allardice said. “One of things while talking about the structure of the competition was to we didn’t want to start the final with one team having to win and one team having to draw, so both teams start on Friday even. They have five playing days to get a result. We have set aside a reserve day so that if time is lost during those five days it can be further made up on the reserve day. It isn’t a six-day Test match.
“And if after those five days the result is a draw, then the view was that the fitting result is that the Championship is shared. Whether we like it or not a draw is certainly a valid result in Test cricket.”
Nagraj Gollapudi is news editor at ESPNcricinfo
Bangladesh vs Australia T20Is, 2021
The 1994 tour to Pakistan was the last time a full series was not available to viewers in Australia
For the first time since 1994 a tour by the Australia men’s team will not broadcast into Australia after a last-minute deal failed to materialise for the rights to the T20I series in Bangladesh.
It had been hoped that in the absence of a traditional television deal the series would be streamed on YouTube but there was no live coverage into Australia.
While the occasional one-off limited-overs match has not been seen in Australia over the last few years, it is not since the 1994 tour of Pakistan that an entire series won’t have been shown.
The majority of Australia’s tours are broadcast by Fox Sports who secured the recent series against West Indies just a couple of days before it started but a similar outcome has not happened for Bangladesh.
The ongoing Olympics that is taking most of the attention, the 1am finish time of the matches in Bangladesh and the fact Australia are missing a host of first-choice players may also have been factors in the attractiveness of the series. However, it also highlights what is likely to become an increasingly challenging broadcast market, particularly for perceived lower-key tours.
The series will be the last chance for both sides to work on plans and assess players ahead of the T20 World Cup in October. It was confirmed on Monday that Bangladesh’s proposed series against England of three T20Is and three ODIs in late September had been postponed until March 2023.
Andrew McGlashan is a deputy editor at ESPNcricinfo
IPL 2021 – Eoin Morgan to return to Kolkata Knight Riders for second half of IPL
He says involvement of other England players in the tournament, scheduled in September-October in the UAE, was a matter of personal choice
England were due to play three ODIs and three T20Is in Bangladesh in September-October but the ECB and the BCB released statements on Tuesday morning confirming that they had “mutually decided” to postpone the tour until March 2023. The IPL is due to resume on September 19 after its postponement midway through the season earlier this year, with the tour’s postponement opening up the opportunity for England’s white-ball players to take part ahead of the T20 World Cup in the UAE.
Speaking after his London Spirit side were beaten by Northern Superchargers in the Hundred at Lord’s on Tuesday night, Morgan confirmed that he intends to return to captain the Knight Riders in the rest of the IPL, and said that the involvement of other England players with contracts in the tournament was a matter of personal choice.
“It’s a complete individual decision,” Morgan said. “I think it was a win-win either way. If we went to Bangladesh we’d play in conditions that are foreign to us. If some guys go to the IPL, they’ll play in similar conditions [to the World Cup] or for guys that need a rest, they take a rest.
“We’ve a lot of cricket to play between now and then. We’ve planned on the tour going ahead – that’s been part of our planning for a long time now – but equally, given the nature in which we now compete and live our lives, it’s not a bad thing for guys to either take time off or go to the IPL if they feel refreshed and have enough energy.”
England’s only two remaining T20I fixtures before the World Cup starts on October 17 are due to be played in Pakistan on October 14 and 15, with the ECB and the PCB both confident that the tour will go ahead. The IPL final is also due to be played on October 15, creating a possible clash for any players whose franchises reach that stage of the tournament.
Matt Roller is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @mroller98
James Anderson admits his wife talked him out of retirement after injury setbacks
England seamer says he struggled after calf problem forced him out of 2019 Ashes
Anderson managed just four overs in the 2019 Ashes after a recurrence of a calf injury ruled him out in the opening moments of the first Test. In the aftermath, he concedes he was struggling with the prospect of more rehabilitation work and it required the intervention of his wife, Daniella, to persuade him to continue.
He has claimed 42 more Test wickets at a cost of 23.00 since then, becoming the only seamer in Test history to reach the milestone of 600 wickets.
“A big reason I am still playing cricket is my wife,” Anderson said ahead of the first LV= Insurance Test against India at Trent Bridge. “She’s been really supportive.
“When I pulled my calf in the first Ashes Test, it was the second or third time I had pulled my calf and I was really considering whether I wanted to go through the rehab again. She basically took us away on holiday and told me to stop being silly. She told me to carry on.
“Of course there have been difficult moments. I think everyone goes through it playing professional sport, whether you are out of form, have a loss of confidence or if it’s injuries. There are all sorts of things you have to deal with. For me it’s about having a good support network: friends and family that you can rely on and lean on.
“My wife has been really supportive. She wants me to keep playing; she encourages me to keep playing. She’s quite happy for me not to be around the house I think.”
Despite his age – he celebrated his 39th birthday a few days ago – Anderson dismissed any suggestion that the next 10 Tests (five against India and five against Australia) could prove the finale of his career.
“Absolutely not,” he said. “I feel like I’m bowling as well as ever. I feel great physically. I’m just looking forward to this series against India.
“We’ll look at everything else once we’re past this. That’s something I’ve done really well throughout my career. But right now I’m bowling as well as I ever have and I’m really looking forward to this series.”
“I do like playing here,” Anderson said. “I feel at home here. It is such a friendly place to play. The stewards and staff are incredibly friendly. It’s just somewhere I feel really comfortable.
“In years gone by, swing has played a big part here. It’s a ground where you look up [at the atmospheric conditions] not down at the pitch. If there’s cloud cover or if it’s humid, it’s generally a good place to bowl. If there’s a bit of grass on the wicket it will carry to the keeper and slips.”
“I’m definitely excited to play against him again,” Anderson said. “You always want to challenge yourself against the best in the world and he’s certainly that. We know how big a player he is for them both as a batsman and as captain, he has a huge influence on that team. So we know he’s a big wicket and to be honest I don’t care if I get him out. As long as somebody gets him out that’s the main thing. He’s an important wicket.
“But I think challenging yourself against the best in the world is really exciting and their top six is riddled with talent. It’s going to be a big challenge for us seam bowlers.”
George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo
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