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‘It doesn’t work’: Michael Holding takes aim at World Test Championship

by Wisden Staff 2 minute read

Former West Indies seamer Michael Holding has labelled the World Test Championship’s points system as “ridiculous”.

The Championship was launched by the ICC in 2019, in the hope of providing more context to bilateral Test series. The first edition of the WTC is currently scheduled to finish with a final at Lord’s next June between the two sides that finish at the top of the competition’s points table.

Under the current points system, up to 120 points are up for grabs in a series, regardless of its length. In a five-Test series, teams are rewarded 24 points for a Test victory. In a two-match series, there are 60 points awarded for a win. A draw is worth a third of the points a win in the same series would be, meaning a 1-0 series victory in a five-match rubber would garner fewer points than a 1-1 draw in a two-game contest.

Speaking to Wisden Cricket Monthly for a roundtable feature on the future of Test cricket, Holding criticised the WTC points system and also questioned what entertainment series part of the WTC will provide once sides are out of contention for a place in the final.

“It doesn’t work,” Holding said when asked whether the WTC was achieving what it was designed for. “First of all the points system is ridiculous. You can’t play five Test matches and get the same amount of points if you play two Test matches.

“And secondly, at some point you’re going to have teams who know they cannot get to the final and so those Test matches aren’t going to be all that entertaining. People know it’s just another game.”

England seamer Chris Woakes, also part of the roundtable, suggested that “the system might need a bit of tinkering with in the future”.

“The New Zealand series [England lost 1-0 away to the Black Caps last winter] wasn’t part of the World Test Championship but that defeat didn’t affect us any less as players,” Woakes said. “I think the system might need a bit of tinkering with in the future. Anyone can turn someone over in a one-off final, depending on the toss or conditions. If there was more time in the calendar they could do a three-match final but unfortunately there just isn’t.”

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