The ICC has been mulling over the prospect of a Test Championship for several years. Finally it will manifest tomorrow when England take on Australia in the Ashes opener at Edgbaston. Surely there couldn’t have been a better way to kick start the Test Championship than this oldest rivalry in Cricketing history. The Test Championship promises to add a new lease of life to the toughest and purest form of the game which in recent times has seen dwindling interest amongst fans especially with the advent of T20 leagues across the world.
The top 9 Test playing nations will be taking part in the Test Championship which will be played over the next two years. All the 9 teams will get to play 6 series, 3 home and 3 away. There would be a total of 27 bilateral series played with 71 matches in total. The top 2 teams at the end of these 27 bilateral series will be playing the final at Lord’s Cricket Ground in June 2021. One major criticism of the format is that each team will be playing only 6 other teams and not all the 8 other teams which undermines the value of the Test Championship to decide the winner eventually. But still this is a great initiative by the ICC to begin with as every match will be significant as there are points associated with the different results. The bilateral series will be of much context for the teams playing against each other as well as for the viewer. With three times the points up for grabs for a win as compared to a draw most teams will try to go for a win which will be exciting and thrilling to watch.
Test matches are surely the ultimate test of technique and separate the average from the greats of the game. Above all it is mentally challenging as well and tests the true character of every player. With this Test Championship all set to begin with the Ashes Series in England one can be hopeful that this form of the game will win the hearts of the younger generation which seem to be obsessed with T20 Cricket. It would be fascinating to watch which team endures over the next couple of years to win the inaugural Test Championship but irrespective of whichever team wins, Cricket will surely be the winner.