In cricket, there is a World Cup for ODIs and Twenty20 Internationals. However, come August and cricket will enter a new era. The first Ashes Test between England and Australia at Edgbaston will be the start of the new World Test Championship. This concept is almost like a Test World Cup and it is intended to give more meaning to bilateral Test series. The top nine Test-playing nations will be part of the new Test World Championship with the likes of Ireland, Afghanistan and Zimbabwe, who have been provisionally suspended by the ICC not part of the cycle. The concept of the World Test championship is simple. Each team will play a total of six series in this two-year period which will be split into three home series and three away series. The series can consist of two-Test series, three-Test, four Test or five-Test series. Points will be allotted in each series, with 120 points divided by the number of games in each series.
India's schedule in the two-year World Test Championship is rather interesting. Their first series will be the upcoming two-Test series against West Indies in Antigua and Jamaica in August and September. India's remaining five series after this is very interesting. After the two-Test series in West Indies, India will play three Tests at home against South Africa while they play two Tests against Bangladesh from the period of October 2019 to November 2019. After the five Tests at home, India will then embark on a two-Test tour to New Zealand in February and March. After the New Zealand series, India will then embark on a four-Test tour to Australia in November to January 2021 while they finish the cycle with a five-Test series against England at home.
Also Read | Virat Kohli retains numero uno spot in ICC Test batsmen rankings, check complete list here
Thus, India will play 10 Tests at home and eight matches away in this period. Basically, they avoid playing in England, South Africa and Sri Lanka while they play no series against Pakistan and Sri Lanka at all in the first two-year cycle. The Tests in New Zealand will take place on February 21 and February 29 in Wellington and Christchurch. The venues for the Test matches in Australia have not been decided. India plays the third-most number of Tests behind England's 22 and Australia's 19.
Also Read | ICC picks team of tournament; Virat Kohli and MS Dhoni miss out
As mentioned, the Test championship will have 120 points divided by the number of games in each series. In a two-Test series, a win gives a team 60 points while a draw gives them 20 points. There will be no points for a defeat. In a three-Test series, a win results in 40 points while a draw gives them 13 points. In a four-Test series, a win gives a team 30 points while a draw gets only 10 points. In a five-Test series, as in the case of the Ashes or in an India vs England series, a win gives the side 24 points while a draw gives them eight points.
India's schedule in the first two-year cycle of the World Test Championship basically gives them plenty of home benefits while also avoiding difficult overseas tours, with only two Tests scheduled in New Zealand. The schedule has worked out perfectly for India as they look to become one of the two teams to square off in the summit Test clash in Lord's on June 2021.
India Test Championship schedule
(Away, 2 Tests)West Indies vs India: August-September 2019
(Home, 3 Tests) India vs South Africa: October 2019
(Home, 2 Tests) India vs Bangladesh: November 2019
(Away, 2 Tests) New Zealand vs India: February-March 2020
(Away, 4 Tests) Australia vs India: November 2020-January 2021
(Home, 5 Tests) India vs England: January-March 2021