The ICC is considering splitting points for unplayed games in the current World Test Championship (WTC) cycle, as it prepares to host the final in June next year.
That is one of two options to be considered by its cricket committee next month, on how to manage the points system in a league disrupted by the Covid-19 pandemic; the other option considers only those matches actually played by the end of March and bases final positions on the percentage of points sides have won from those that they’ve contested, reports Cricinfo.
The aim is to have clarity in place by the time the next WTC commitment begins, with West Indies’ two-Test series in New Zealand in December this year. Any decision from the cricket committee would have to be signed off by the chief executives’ committee.
A significant number of Tests have been postponed this year because of the pandemic. In many cases, it isn’t clear when they might be rescheduled to, let alone whether they can be squeezed in within this WTC league cycle, which concludes at the end of March 2021.
Splitting the points would be within the regulations as they stand, whereby all Tests in the cycle that can’t be played (through no fault of either side) are deemed draws. In that scenario, both sides receive a third of the points available for a Test (120 points are available for every series). Basing it on percentages of points played for would require a tweak to existing regulations.
There remains hope that a substantial number of the remaining commitments until the end of March will still go ahead.
As things stand, however, only India and England have a realistic chance of playing all six of their respective WTC series. For England, that depends on whether their Sri Lanka tour goes ahead. Pakistan can play six series but one against Bangladesh wouldn’t have been completed.
Neither option is likely to feel satisfactory, not least for a side like Bangladesh, who could end this cycle having only played three of their six series. But a resolution is necessary given the push to complete this first WTC cycle.
Postponement was the favoured option, though when practicalities were explored, a workable alternative could not be found. The lack of space in the calendar, in fact, is one of the driving reasons why there is keenness to ensure a final takes place next June and the first cycle of the league is officially completed.