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World Test Championship

The World Test Championship points tweak that could help with the standard of pitches

by Michael Rudling 2 minute read

Controversial pitches have dominated discussions around India’s ongoing Test series against Australia, with the third Test surface in Indore rated ‘poor’ after India were bowled out for 109 on day one.

Result pitches have become a fixture of the World Test Championship, with just 19 draws out of 126 completed Tests in the first two additions of the tournament so far.*

It has continued a general trend in Test cricket that has seen just 16 per cent of games ending in draws in the past decade, compared to 40 per cent between 1980 and 2000.


The trend has been exacerbated in recent years by the points system in the WTC. As it stands, teams are awarded four points for a draw compared to 12 for a win (and six for a tie).

It has meant that there is an incentive to prepare result pitches as there are few benefits to drawing games.  A 2-1 loss gives a team 12 points, the same as a 0-0 draw.

While the approach of players may have taken the game away from draws anyway (ever heard of Ben Stokes?), the preparation of tricky batting wickets can turn the game into something of a lottery, as Joe Root showed at Ahmedabad in 2021 when he took 5-8 against India. Virat Kohli averages 33 since the start of WTC, compared to 54 before it.

One solution to the issue would be upping the points gained for a draw to six. This would reward teams for not losing Tests, rather than just for winning them, and allow ground staff to focus on creating good cricket wickets, rather than pitches that are likely to force results.

There has been opposition to the current points system from the likes of India head coach an batting legend Rahul Dravid, who said earlier this week that there is a “huge premium” on results.

“You draw a game like Kanpur against New Zealand,” said Dravid. “Where you take nine wickets in the second innings, you draw that game and that sets you back, in a home game.”

If India had won the Test match in question rather than drawing, they would have already qualified for the WTC final. As it stands, if Australia win the fourth Test in Ahmedabad, Sri Lanka can qualify ahead of them with a 2-0 series win in New Zealand.

Dravid continued: “Every team is getting results at home or are putting in really good performances at home, so there is a premium on results. You get four points for a draw and you get 12 for a win, so there is a premium on that, there’s no question about it.”

*Article last updated March 10*

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