The World Cup 2019 Final debacle – A lesson for establishing World Test Championship rules
The World Cup 2019 final should have been an eye opener for the cricketing world. The super-over tie rule whose probability of usage was near to zero, had robbed New Zealand of the opportunity to have their first World Cup title. This rule has now been amended after severe criticism and other such rules in the World Test Championship still need to undergo changes.
The lesson for ICC from this experience should have been to adapt a more proactive approach, especially before a world event like the World Test Championship.
However, there still remain several loopholes in cricketing laws that haven’t been addressed yet. The series between Pakistan and England in 2020, which was also part of the World Test Championship, was a great exhibition of these abnormalities and showed the changes that are needed.
So, what are the rules that are affecting teams in a disproportionate manner and why is the World Test Championship points system and format such a mess?
World Test Championship changes: The umpire’s call?
Pakistan lost the three match series against England by 1-0. In the thrilling first match of the series, which ultimately turned out to be the series decider, the umpire’s call had a great role in deciding the winner of that game: Stuart Broad was given not out and Muhammad Rizwan was given out on the basis of on field umpire’s decision after the fielding sides opted for the review.
England ultimately won that game by three wickets because of classical performances by Buttler and Woakes. However, had there been few more runs on board for Pakistan through the bat of Muhammad Rizwan, the series result could have been totally different.
Moreover, in the context of the World Test Championship, each game is crucial for a team. And, such a biased effect of a rule can easily destroy the chances of a team to qualify for the final. Furthermore, just consider the occurrence of such anomalies in the final of Test Championship. After four years of struggle to reach the final, a team’s fate can be ruined by one-sided rulings of the umpire.
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The advantage of venue – The number of drawn test matches are more probable at particular venues:
Some venues are more notorious for rain than the others. For example, matches to be played in England are more probable to get drawn as compared to matches in UAE. (In the second Test between Pakistan and England, only 134.3 overs were bowled. Most of the the game was washed out due to rain.
Similarly, the third Test match of the series resulted in a draw as well.) And, with the change in the Test Championship rules i.e., the finalist would be decided on the basis of percentage of points earned, it is difficult to ensure that each side has got an equal opportunity to earn points by winning matches if their matches are scheduled at venues more prone to rain.
For example, England could have beaten Pakistan by 3-0 in the best possible case. However England got 40, 13, and 13 points for the first, second, and third game respectfully. So, in total England got only 66 points out of 120 total achievable points due to rain. Hence, the venue is going to play a major role in deciding the finalist.
The World Test Championship points system needs a revamp.
Undoubtedly, it is difficult to eliminate uncertainty from a cricket game; however, it is still imperative to ensure equal opportunity and uniformity in the law for every side competing.
Therefore, it is important that ICC should look for any loopholes in the rules especially for a major event like a World Test Championship in a proactive way and make changes. If not, the result will be similar to that of the World Cup 2019 final.
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We hope you enjoyed our article on the World Test Championship and the changes that are perhaps required.
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