India came out as clear winners against the English team with a comprehensive victory in the 4th test. After a dismal loss in the first test at Chennai, India regained the momentum in the 2nd test at Chennai. Ashwin and Rohit were the heroes then, nothing changed since then. Just that new heroes were added to the team. Axar Patel and Rishab Pant to be precise. Pant was excellent with his fearless batting skills. Not to forget his mouthful commentary, almost making the English men feel they are against 13 on the field. Axar did all that Jadeja could do with the ball and with the bat. That’s how the Indian team battered England to take series 3-1 and enter the world test championship finals.
India’s points the highest, percentage the highest, matches played the 2nd highest. The tournament which was earlier touted to begin in 2013 got pushed to 2017 and then to 2019 due to financial issues. Once it got underway for 2019-21, ICC was reaping the best of the benefits. Then came the pandemic and it hit the revenues. But that didn’t stop the ICC from continuing the tournament. Instead, they came with changes. Changes in points calculation and the change in the venue.
Changes in the point calculation were not liked by Team India. But they had no other option other than accepting it. India was sitting comfortably with 360 points, 60 points ahead of the 2nd placed team. They had challenges like Australia and England to face and chances looked dim for the final appearance. The COVID bubble and the IPL before the big Australian tour were expected to act as a hindrance. Not to be. Because the IPL gave the Indian selection committee to see the performance of the players and bubble got them ready for more such days coming ahead.
Road to World Test Championship Final
India amazingly started their campaign by winning three of its test series and bagging 360 points. Then they travelled to New Zealand and lost the two-match series. It was a disastrous series. The matches ended in 3 days each. That’s when the pandemic and lockdown stuck the world.
With all the bubble stuff and injuries, big teams to play, it was a 10% probability of India making it to the finals. Right at the beginning of the Australian tour, Virat Kohli the captain announced he would leave the team after 1st test. More than the controversy of should he leave or not, pandits expected India to lose without putting up a fight once he leaves. But the coach Ravi Shastri and the players had other plans. They played the best cricket of their lives to defeat Australia and finished the series with 2-1 with a magnificent win at Gabba.
The Indian team came back and so did Virat Kohli from his paternity leave. India were clear favourites playing India against England. The toughest challenge down under was long gone and the mission was accomplished. To everyone’s shock and surprise, India suffered a loss in Chennai. That’s not what Virat Kohli or Ravi Shastri wanted. But that happened and they had to quickly do some work to come out of this bubble in their heads.
Indian team regrouped themselves forgetting the 1st test and came back strong to win all the next three matches. India thus ended the ICC WTC 21 campaign on top of the table with 72% points with a total of 520 points from the available 720 points. It has been an enthralling and discovering 1st cycle of the World Test Championship for India. India will play the final against New Zealand which is to be played between June 18th to 23rd at Southampton. Yes, the venue is moved from Lord’s the Mecca of cricket to Southampton. Another change due to the COVID pandemic.
While we wait for the second cycle of the world test championship, there are things to reconsider for the ICC for the next cycle. The New Zealand team played just 11 games, unlike England which played 21 and India 17.
Proposed changes for ICC World Test Championship:
The ICC has to look into the number of matches and not just the points per game. Surely, they’ll make those changes. Also, can there be an option of neutral venues and not just home and away? That’s because there has been the debate of home teams making uncomfortable pitches for the away teams. This has to be addressed. There will be minor gaming changes like DRS, reviews etc.
- Neutral Venues – Maybe India vs Pakistan in UAE or Bangladesh
- Number of DRS per match and Umpire’s Call
- Releasing of Playing XI a day before the match
- Making it as Semi-Finals and then a Final
- Letting the table-toppers decide the venue for the Final
So, let’s wait and see what ICC will do in the coming future. But there is still action left. India will play Kiwis in the grand final and the blackcaps were the only one team to win the series this cycle. Will the black caps in whites’ triumph over India and repeat the 2019 World Cup Semi-Final result or will Men in Blue in their whites finish their revenge?
It’s not far away at all, just 96 days to go…