Has the World Test Championship done more harm than good to Test Cricket?

Has the World Test Championship done more harm than good to Test Cricket?

What is the use of a World Test Championship with only Australia England and India playing serious Test match cricket amongst Test-playingnations?

With a two-yearcycle to decide the Top 2 teams and a champion being decided on a solitary Test match is prompting a question – Has the World Test Championship done more harm than good to Test Cricket?

Presented By: Raghunath Nair

India has dominated the World Test Championshipsand has been the number-one ranked team for a major portion of the past 4 years.

Indian team has unfortunately stumbled in both the World Test Championshipfinals played in 2021 and 2023.

Wotrld test champioship win evading team india

A bit more careful study into the World Test Championship cycle reveals that there are too many flaws in the structure of the championship.

The World Test Championshipwas created to increase the popularity of the longer format of the game which is losing interest amongst cricket fans.

Fans like to see Test matches played by two well-organised and matching teams.

In Test match cricket there are huge gaps in talent and skill among the Test-playing nations.

In the shorter format, the gap is however reduced which makes the ODI and the T20 World Cupswatchable.

Ashes is probably the most competitive cricket played in Test followed by India’s tour to Australia.

Australia-reigning world test champions

How Does the WTC Points system work

  • Each team plays six WTC series in the cycle
  • Each Series has 120 points which is divided by the number of games in the series. So,If a series comprises four matches, for instance, each game is worth 30 points.
    • In a two-game series, each Test is worth 60 points.

Now you know, why the India – South Africa Series was a two-match affair.

  • If a match is drawn, the teams take one-third of the points allocated for that Test, which is why the Ashes draw at Lord’s yielded each side just eight points.
  • No additional points are awarded for series victories – only the individual Tests score points.

So, what is the reward for a 3-2 hard-fought Test series?

WTC a flawed Structure

Some Glaring issues are

  • A single game is played to determine the champion.
  • It restricts a team from making a come-back as is the case in Test Series. This takes the romance out of Test Cricket.
  • What happens to the team who knows they are no longer in the race for a final berth?
    • what motivation do they have to play Test cricket which already is seeing a huge decline?

Once a team like India for example in the middle of the Test cycle sees no hope of making a comeback into the Top 2 final Positions in the World Test Championship. Will they have any motivation?


  • The points system does not account for the percentage of matches teams fail to win.

Due to the flawed points structure, Sri Lanka, a relatively weaker team in the test Circuit as compared to England or NewZealand almost made it to the WTC Finals by playing and winning against weaker Test teams and accumulating WTC Points.

Australia did manage to eventually be in the final.

Australia not all countries take test cricket

  • Imagine if Sri Lanka had squeezed their way to the final. Would that have been a true reflection of theTop 2 teamsplaying for the championship?

Australia plays competitive Test cricket throughout the WTC cycle. But the same is not the case with other teams.

A stronger team like Pakistan plays with weaker sides like Zimbabwe and earns WTC points while Australia and England fight tooth and nail in the Ashes series and make the same WTC points as the Pakistan series in the end.

  • In the Shorter format of World Cups, all teams in a round-robin format play before the knockouts.
    • In WTC, the 9 selected countries donot play against other countries in equal proportion both in home and away matches. So how can we determine the top 2 finalists? Is it not flawed?

most watched cricket

  • A series like the Ashes or the India Australia series in Australia gets more fans watching Test cricket than any series in the world.So it is obvious that the series is a long one comprising of 4 to 5 Test Matches in the series.
    • The Ashes Test win will earn only 24 points as compared to a two-match series in Pakistan which earns 60 points per match
  • India, England, and Australia generally play more Tests than the other six sides in the WTC. Also, their Series are longer which means fewer points for each game.
  • Sri Lanka and Bangladesh,have never played a four- or five-match series in their combined 56 years of Test history.
  • Even New Zealand playing a lesser number of Test matches, played the inaugural Test Championship. The English conditions suited their style of game more than the Indians and were crowned the winner. India had more wins in the cycle

new zealand wining the inaugural world test championship

  • Teams like New Zealand will dominate the WTC Points system purely as they play more2 match series andhardly gettested in a five-match series.
  • This is due to pure economics. While Interest inTest Cricket is at its all-time lowest, even broadcasters are reluctant to telecast Test matches which will eventually bring in less crowd.
  • Broadcasters prefer sides like England, India and Australia.Only India still gets an audience when they play against a weaker team which they seldom do exceptwith SriLanka and Bangladesh.
  • South Africa considered a good side, struggles to get broadcasters to telecast their matches in SriLanka leading to them playing short series in the Island nation.

So then why term it as a World Test Championship?

WTC’s unusual points scale is a mere symptom of the inequity in the Test ecosystem.

Why Fans Don’t Care

Indian fans prefer watchingTest Cricket when the team plays away Test matches. India is invinciblein homeconditions.

Indian fans look forward to overses test

So, a two-match home series whitewash against Sri Lanka has less Interest for the Cricket fans as compared to a two-match win in a 5 series tournament down under or in English conditions. This is exactly contrary to the WTC point system.

Also Read: The Impact of ICC World Test Championship on International Cricket

The Flaw in the World Test Championship is visible with many teams showing disinterest in the longer format after 2 WTC Titles.

Former Australia skipper Steve Waugh also came down heavily on the ICC and top cricket boards, including the BCCI, after Cricket South Africa named as many as seven uncapped players in a 14-man squad for the two-Test series

Also Read: ‘They Don’t Care’, Steve Waugh Slams Cricket Bosses | Beginning of The End of Test Cricket

Many more ex-cricketers have expressed concern on the deteriorating interest in Test Cricket

Former England Test batter Mark Butcheralso recently expressed his displeasure on the state of Test Cricket and feels ICC could have focussed on other relevant issues to secure the future of Test cricket instead of introducing the WTC.

Butcher Opined that the ICC World Test Championship (WTC) has done more harm than good to the longest format.

“One of the things that’s made this even more inevitable is something that they’ve done to try to salvage Test match cricket, which is the World Test Championship,” Butcher said on the Wisden Cricket Weekly podcast.

“The only effort that’s been made to try kind of and keep it relevant, I think, has made it worse,” Butcher said.



  • What will happen if World Test Championship is drawn?

“If the match is drawn, tied, or abandoned, the teams shall be declared joint winners of the ICC World Test Championship,” the condition reads.


  • How does World Test Championship work?

The current WTC cycle runs from June 2023 to June 2025 and comprises the top nine Test teams, all of whom will play six series each – three at home and three away. The top two teams will compete in the ICC World Test Championship Final.


  • How many times India won WTC?

India has not been an ICC World Test Championship Winner yet.

Leave A Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *