The ICC Cricket Committee gets together in Mumbai on May 28 and 29 to discuss, among other things, the playing conditions for the World Test Championship. The Championship begins after the 2019 World Cup, with the final is set to be played from June 10, 2021 and the recommended location being England.
The potential changes – though not many in number – are significant. For example, the committee, headed by Anil Kumble, will deliberate on whether to do away with the toss, the nature of the points system that will govern the Championship as well as the quality of pitches.
Once the cricket committee finalises its recommendations, the ICC’s chief executives’ committee will take the discussion further during the annual conference in Dublin in June.
Here are some of the more eye-catching potential changes to the conditions, as revealed in a document obtained by ESPNcricinfo. These were presented during the ICC’s quarterly meeting in Kolkata in April.
India have said no to playing a day-night Test in Adelaide this year, but in the Test Championship that may no longer be an option. In the new playing conditions, it is at the discretion of the home board to schedule a day-night Test in a series. The document states that “the agreement of the touring team will be required,” only if the host side wants to play more than one day-night game in the series. And if a day-night Test is scheduled, then the touring team is entitled to play one day-night warm-up game (of a minimum of two days).
The ICC’s concerns about the quality of pitches in international cricket are reflected in a couple of potential changes. The first – doing away with the toss – is the most radical. More details on that story here.
In a sense, this is almost as radical an idea as doing away with the toss. Given the number of pitches ICC officials considered to be poor over the last few years, they want to introduce tangible and severe penalties for sides that create unfit pitches. “If a match is abandoned because the pitch or outfield is too dangerous for play to continue, and the pitch is subsequently rated as UNFIT by the match referee, the match will be considered to have been won by the visiting team when the competition points are allocated for that series.”
The ICC has asked the cricket committee to recommend whether points should be allocated for both match and series results. “It (cricket committee) will also recommend the appropriate weighting of a Draw compared to a Win.”
The committee will discuss potential points penalties for poor behaviour by players and slow over rates but the document says these are “unlikely to be recommended”.
Remember the hoopla about four-day Tests? Not happening in the Test championship. All those Tests, the document makes very clear, will be played over five days. And there will have to be a minimum gap of three days between Tests.
As is already the case, the choice of ball to be used will remain with the host country during the league phase. For the final the ball will “likely” be the same as that used to play Tests in the country that hosts the summit clash (England).