The ICC released the men’s FTP for 2023-27 earlier this week, and we take a look at how the World Test Championship could pan out for the teams in the next cycle (2023-25).
Every team will play a total of six series in the next WTC, including three at home and three away. Ireland, Afghanistan and Zimbabwe will not compete in the tournament.
Home: India, West Indies, Pakistan
Away: New Zealand, England, Sri Lanka
The Australians will face each of India (at home) and England (away) for a five-match Test series. Irrespective of how the two tours pan out, Australia will fancy their chances of making the final. They should have it easy against West Indies – a side struggling for momentum in the format – at home, and will back themselves against Pakistan. They have never lost a Test series against Pakistan at home.
Australia will visit New Zealand, a country where they have enjoyed success over the years. New Zealand have not won a series against them at since 1989/90. Australia won the last series, in 2015/16, 2-0. Despite the recent drawn series in Sri Lanka, they will fancy their chances considering their current form.
Australia will have it tricky against India and England, but they should not face much competition from the other sides. Even if they lose a few games, their FTP is such that a few shock losses should not derail them from a berth in the final.
Home: New Zealand, South Africa, Sri Lanka
Away: India, West Indies, Pakistan
Realistically, Bangladesh will find it tough. While they will hope to compete at home, away games could be a challenge. However, they have won a Test match in New Zealand this year…
Home: Australia, West Indies, Sri Lanka
Away: New Zealand, India, Pakistan
England face four strong sides in their next WTC, three of which will be away from home. One of their three home series will be the 2023 Ashes, but the other two – against West Indies and Sri Lanka – should be easier.
Having lost the last two series in New Zealand, they will be in uncomfortable territory. They will then play two in India and Pakistan. Any series in the subcontinent can be challenging. Though they have won 12 of the 30 Test matches in Asia since 2010, the 2023-25 WTC is unlikely to be a walk in the park for them.
Home: New Zealand, England, Bangladesh
Away: Australia, West Indies, South Africa
New Zealand, the inaugural WTC winners, have struggled against India in Test cricket, and have never won a series in the country. In November 2021, a few months after winning the WTC, they lost 0-1 in India, and it is unlikely to be any different in the next WTC. India should also have it easy against Bangladesh at home and in West Indies.
However, their journey will not be short of challenges. Despite losing the series in India last year, England have been formidable of late. Despite winning the series Down Under on the last two occasions, India – like other sides – will always walk into the series as underdogs. And South Africa remain a frontier they are yet to conquer.
Home: Australia, England, South Africa
Away: India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka
A tricky FTP for the 2019-21 WTC winners, with no easy team to face at home. They have not won six of the last eight home series against England, while the struggles against Australia are well-documented. New Zealand have also never won a Test series against South Africa. In New Zealand, South Africa have won six series, while three were drawn, the latest being a 1-1 earlier this year.
Away, India will pose a challenge. Even if they get the better of Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, it might not be enough.
Home: England, West Indies, Bangladesh
Away: Australia, South Africa, Sri Lanka
Three relatively easier oppositions; the others, not quite. Pakistan’s 2023-25 WTC can go either way. They host England, who have been competitive in Asia of late, and tour two of the most challenging countries for a team from the subcontinent. Pakistan’s last Test win in Australia came in 1995/96; since then, they have been whitewashed in the next five series.
Like India, Pakistan too have never won a Test series in South Africa, and they will hardly have any room for error in the 2023-25 WTC.
Home: India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka
Away: New Zealand, West Indies, Bangladesh
South Africa probably have the most favourable schedule in the next WTC and should fancy their chances of making the finals. Sri Lanka are the only side from Asia to win a Test series in South Africa, when they defeated the hosts 2-0 in 2018/19, but South Africa avenged that soon afterwards. Facing three countries from the subcontinent at home is as favourable as it could get for a non-subcontinent side.
West Indies and Bangladesh should be easy too, while their terrific record in New Zealand further gives them a huge advantage.
Home: New Zealand, Australia, Pakistan
Away: England, South Africa, Bangladesh
A tough itinerary for Sri Lanka, who face five teams higher than them in the ICC Men’s Test rankings. Even at home, Sri Lanka are not the challengers they used to be, and while they can spring odd surprises expecting them to beat all of New Zealand, Australia, England, South Africa and Pakistan, considering their current form, is expecting a tad too much.
Home: India, South Africa, Bangladesh
Away: Australia, England, Pakistan
West Indies finished sixth in the 2019-21 WTC cycle, and are currently sixth in the points table as well. We can expect another bottom-half finish from them in the 2023-25 WTC. Barring Bangladesh at home, they will not enter any of the series as favourites.