Kane Williamson, Virat Kohli and Joe Root are all eagerly looking forward to the prospect of winning the highly-coveted Test Championship mace after the announcement of the second edition of the tournament.
A huge challenge to defend the title
New Zealand skipper Kane Williamson, who recently led his side to victory in the maiden edition of the tournament was effusive in his praise for the Championship, and praised the excitement it generated for the fans. Williamson said, "It was obviously pretty special to win the inaugural ICC World Test Championship in Southampton last month and it’s exciting to now look ahead to the second edition.
“The WTC has certainly added more context and brought new meaning to Test cricket and it was awesome to see the interest that was generated around the Final against India.”
Williamson is also aware of the challenge it will pose for the Kiwis to defend their crown. "We know trying to defend the title will be a huge challenge, but our focus will be on making sure we prepare as well as we can for the tours ahead and trying to maintain our level of performance.”
Time to regroup
Similarly, Virat Kohli, who led India to the final of the WTC21 edition, was also brimming with excitement ahead of the next cycle. Kohli is also hoping to go one step further the next time around, with India's campaign starting against England in a five-match series away from home.
"It was great to have played the final of the ICC World Test Championship against New Zealand in what was a memorable contest," said Kohli. "The following of cricket lovers too was great to see, and I am sure they will all be waiting eagerly for the second edition."
“We will regroup with new energy for the next cycle starting with our series against England, hoping to give our fans a lot to cheer about."
The desire to excel
England captain Joe Root believes the ICC World Test Championship is the perfect platform for his side to improve in the longest format, due to the challenge of being at their best all the time. Root's men will begin their campaign with a Test series against India, which he believes will be a highly competitive task.
"We start our campaign in the second edition of the ICC World Test Championship against the finalists of last time, which is an interesting challenge straight away," he said.
"Test cricket is a format we all want to excel in and with points at stake for each match, everyone has to be at their best all the time.”
ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW
How will the points system work?
The points system has now been standardised, with teams being awarded 12 points for a win, four for a draw, and six for a tie. The percentage of points won will determine the standings on the table.
This system is a shift away from the previous edition when the same number of points were allocated to each series, divided across the number of matches played. The move was taken to simplify the points system while also taking in key learnings from the previous cycle of the Championship.
The fixture list
The next World Test Championship will witness some cracking fixtures, starting with England's five-match Test series against India next month. Each of the nine sides will play three series at home, as well as three away from home. Here's what the fixture list for every side will look like over the span of the next two years:
A step in the right direction
ICC Acting Chief Executive Geoff Allardice believes the changes brought about are a big step in the right direction. Allardice stated that the new changes will make the Championship simpler while incorporating various feedbacks from the previous cycle. He also said that the World Test Championship has been largely successful in bringing global interest to Test cricket.
"We received feedback that the previous points system needed to be simplified. The Cricket Committee took this into consideration when proposing a new, standardized points system for each match.
"It maintained the principle of ensuring that all matches in a WTC series count towards a team’s standing, while accommodating series varying in length between two Tests and five Tests."
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