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ICC World Test Championship: 2023-25 Schedule

India Test Cricket Team lining up ahead of a match.
Will the third time be the charm for the Indian Test Cricket Team in the Wold Test Championships Copyright: xANIx ANI_20230309188

The nine best test-playing nations are taking part in the 3rd edition of the World Test Championship (WTC). The competition which takes place over two years began in the 2019–2021-time cycle. After the recent completion of the 2021-23 edition, the stage is set for the third WTC ‘season.’ In fact, three test series are already underway. England are playing hosts to Australia in a 5-match Ashes series, while West Indies are hosting India in a 2-match series. Closer home, Sri Lanka are hosting Pakistan in a 2-test series.

Tour schedule announced

In August 2022, the International Cricket Council (ICC) announced the international tour schedule for the -yearperiod from 2023 to 2027. They also decided which series would be included in the schedule of the ICC World Test Championship 2023-25. As per this schedule, each team will play three home and three away series against different rival teams. The competition is not played in a round robin format. Rather, each team will face off against six of the remaining eight sides.

The respective boards are given the freedom to decide the dates and venues of the series. In all, the league stage of the competition will have 68 tests played over 27 series. The top two sides will qualify for the final. Each side will feature in 12 to 22 tests of five days’ duration.

In the following table, we have incorporated the complete ICC World Test Championship 2023-25 schedule:

Aus5 tests3 tests2 tests
BD2 tests2 tests2 tests
Eng5 tests3 tests3 tests
Ind2 tests5 tests3 tests
NZ2 tests3 tests2 tests
Pak2 tests3 tests2 tests
SA2 tests2 tests2 tests
SL2 tests2 tests2 tests
WI2 tests2 tests2 tests

Calculation of points

The top two teams will be decided on the basis of points earned. Each match is allotted an identical number of points (12). Thus, a series of two matches (as between West Indies and India), will account for 24 points. An Ashes series of five tests between England and Australia will account for 60.

A team will earn 12 points for a win. In the event of a tied match, the participating teams will be awarded 6 points each. A drawn encounter will entitle each team to 4 points.

A points percentage system (PCT) has been devised to help decide rankings. The number of points won divided by the number of points contested will provide a ranking ratio.

Penalty points

A slow over rate by a team will be punished by penalty points. One penalty point will be docked for every violation. A team is required to bowl 90 overs in a day’s play comprising of six hours. Thus, a bowling team is required to bowl at least 15 overs an hour. The only exception will be delays owing to weather or other reasons. Thus, teams would have to avoid excessive appealing, frequent changes in field placements, drinks breaks, injuries, or reviews. All of these can result in a slow over rate. Teams would have to rotate bowlers quickly, use spin bowlers more often, and generally avoid any unwarranted interruption.

How penalty points can hurt teams

Penalty points can hurt teams badly. The best example is that of Australia in season one of the WTC (2019-21). That season, 120 points were assigned to each series, regardless of the number of matches played. The points were divided equally among the matches. Thus, in a 2-test series, each win, tie and draw would earn a team 60, 30 and 20 points respectively.

After the completion of league matches, India finished at the top of the table with 520 points out of 720, for a PCT of 72.2. New Zealand finished in second place with 420 points out of 600 to finish with a PCT of 70.0. Australia, who finished with 332 points out of 480, had a PCT of 69.2.

Neither India nor New Zealand were docked for a slow over rate. However, Australia copped four penalty points for failing to maintain the prescribed over rate. Had they not been docked, Australia would have finished with 336 points and tied with NZ on a PCT of 70.0. If teams were tied on PCT, a runs-per-wicket (RPW) ratio was to be used to rank the sides. Australia had a higher RPW of 1.572 than NZ whose RPW was just 1.281. Thus, the penalty points robbed Australia of a place in the final.

In the event, NZ qualified for the final and went on to win the WCT by beating India at Lords in June 2021.


India finished in second place, losing to New Zealand and Australia, respectively, in the first two seasons of the WTC. Will India achieve it in season three? If their performance in the first test versus West Indies is anything to go by, the answer is a resounding yes.