While the inaugural edition of the ICC World Test Championship (WTC) has begun with the Ashes series between England and Australia, former skipper Steve Waugh has said that he wishes the competition had been around when he was playing.
The WTC, which was officially launched by the International Cricket Council (ICC) on Monday, will see the top nine Test teams in the world – Australia, Bangladesh, England, India, New Zealand, Pakistan, South Africa, Sri Lanka and the West Indies – compete in 71 Test matches across 27 series, played over two years. The top two teams, in the end, will contest the ICC World Test Championship Final in June 2021 in the United Kingdom and the winners will be declared as ICC World Test Champions.
Reflecting his views on the new initiative, Waugh hoped that the WTC had been around when he led Australia to 16 Test victories in a row.
"I just wish that the ICC World Test Championship had been around in my day. I captained an Australia team that won 16 Tests in a row between 1999 and 2001. It was a fantastic achievement by a bunch of men that I was very proud to call my teammates," the ICC press release quoted the former Australian player as saying.
"I just wish that the ICC World Test Championship had been around in my day. Back in 2001 when we were on our run, we just assumed we were the No.1 side in the world and everyone said that we were, but there was no actual proof. We would have loved a finale, a chance to hold a trophy aloft and have that recognition," he added.
Admitting that Test cricket still remains the pinnacle of the game for him, Waugh said he wants the longest format of the game to remain at the top and that the WTC would help in retaining its relevance.
"I think it’s great for the global game that were will be a world championship in Test cricket, in two years time. We have it in T20 cricket and in 50-over cricket so why not in Test cricket as well? I think it is well overdue," he said.
"Test cricket is still the pinnacle for me. And I would assume that it is for almost every modern professional cricketer as well. I want it to remain on top and for that to be the case, it needs to retain relevance," Waugh added.
Waugh further said that he is excited about the prospect of seeing one of these top nine sides pick up the World Test Championship trophy.
"Now we have officially introduced it and I can’t wait for it to get started, I am excited but, as I said, also a little bit jealous that I will never get to hold that trophy high. Australia, India, England, really any team in the world will be desperate to go out and put their name on that trophy. It is not about money or fame anything like that. It is about recognition, about being able to say that you are the No.1 Test side in the world," he
The cricket's oldest rivalry will be followed by the two-match Test series between Sri Lanka and World Cup 2019 runner-ups New Zealand from August 14. Subsequently, India will open their campaign at the World Test Championship with a two-match Test series against West Indies at the latter's home turf starting from August 22.
With points available for every single game, each team will play three home and three away series. Each series counts for 120 points, distributed over the number of matches in a series. For example, a two-match series will mean 60 points for each Test while a three-match series will give 40 points to each Test match. A tie will be 50% of the points available, whilst a draw will be a 3:1 points ratio.