Australia lead tweaked Test championship

·2-min read

Teams will be ranked by the percentage of points earned from completed matches to determine the finalists of the inaugural World Test Championship (WTC) next year - with the tweak in the rules aiding new leaders Australia.

The alteration to the competition's rules, which has been prompted by the disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, has allowed Australia (82.22%) to leapfrog India (75%) and go top of the standings, even though Virat Kohli's men have accumulated more points.

England (60.83%) are third, followed by New Zealand (50%).

The International Cricket Council (ICC) announced the changes on Thursday, while also deciding at its board meeting to shift the women's Twenty20 World Cup, originally scheduled for 2022 in South Africa, back to 2023.

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 WTC 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.

Six test series, including four involving Bangladesh, have been postponed or cancelled because of the pandemic.

The nine top Test teams were originally scheduled to play six series each over two years in the WTC, with the top two making the showcase final in London.

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 had 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.