Vodafone Test Series v India
Test championship tweak gives Australia boost
Australia have benefited from a rules tweak to the World Test Championship with a new points percentage system propelling them to top position
20 November 2020, 09:17 AM AEST
Australia have moved to the top of the World Test Championship ahead of next month’s blockbuster home series against India.
A tweak in the rules resulted in teams being ranked by the percentage of points earned from completed matches to determine who will contest the inaugural final next year, with the decision aiding Australia.
The alteration to the competition's rules, which has been prompted by the disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, has allowed Australia (82.22%) to leapfrog India (75%) and go top of the standings, even though Virat Kohli's men have accumulated more points.
England (60.83%) are third, followed by New Zealand (50%).
Australia and India are preparing for a mouth-watering Vodafone four-Test series, which is scheduled to start in Adelaide on December 17.
The International Cricket Council (ICC) announced the changes on Thursday, while also deciding at its board meeting to shift the women's Twenty20 World Cup, originally scheduled for 2022 in South Africa, back to 2023.
ICC chief executive Manu Sawhney said ranking teams based on points earned from completed matches reflected their performance and "doesn't disadvantage teams that have been unable to compete all of their matches through no fault of their own".
The ICC board also decided against extending the WTC cycle to allow teams to complete their quota of matches.
"We explored a whole range of options, but our members felt strongly that we should proceed as planned with the first-ever World Test Championship Final in June next year," Sawhney said.
Six test series, including four involving Bangladesh, have been postponed or cancelled because of the pandemic.
The nine top Test teams were originally scheduled to play six series each over two years in the WTC, with the top two making the showcase final in London.
The ICC has decided against staging three major women's events in 2022, now having shifted the global Twenty20 event to 2023.
Next year's 50-over World Cup in New Zealand had already been postponed to 2022 following the COVID-19 crisis, while women's cricket will also make its Commonwealth Games debut in Birmingham that year too.
Vodafone Test Series v India 2020-21
Australia Test squad: Tim Paine (c), Sean Abbott, Joe Burns, Pat Cummins, Cameron Green, Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head, Marnus Labuschagne, Nathan Lyon, Michael Neser, James Pattinson, Will Pucovski, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, Mitchell Swepson, Matthew Wade, David Warner
India Test squad: Virat Kohli (c) (first Test only), Ajinkya Rahane (vice-captain), Rohit Sharma, Mayank Agarwal, Prithvi Shaw, KL Rahul, Cheteshwar Pujara, Hanuma Vihari, Shubman Gill, Wriddhiman Saha (wk), Rishabh Pant (wk), Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami, Umesh Yadav, Navdeep Saini, Kuldeep Yadav, Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin, Mohammed Siraj
Second Test: December 26-30, MCG, 10.30am AEDT
Third Test: January 7-11, SCG, 10.30am AEDT
Fourth Test: January 15-19, Gabba, 11am AEDT