Virat Kohli bats for ‘away’ points
India captain Virat Kohli on Wednesday became the latest critic of how the points are awarded for the World Test Championship adding to the debate on the fairness of the system.
Speaking at a media conference here on the eve of the second Test versus South Africa, Kohli said: “Had you asked me to make the points system, I would have given double the points for an away Test win. That is something I would definitely like to see, may be after the first edition (of the Championship).”
The basic idea of a bilateral series in cricket revolves around the home and away theory, where home may translate to unbound advantage, and away may often leave you with the task of fighting the dinosaur with a pen knife.
While the International Cricket Council (ICC) intended to inject life into the age-old concept of bilateral rivalry, not all practitioners of the game, past and present, are convinced that it is being done in the right manner.
One of the primary issues that critics have had with the World Test Championship is its points distribution system. Simply put, as former India pacer Zaheer Khan had recently said during a chat show, “The points system is confusing”.
The ICC has fixed the maximum number of points that a series can be played for at 120, irrespective of the number of Tests. So while you can earn 120 points playing a two-match series, you will not earn any more even if you have to work multiple times harder in a five-match series.
That leads to farcical situations.
When Sri Lanka trounced New Zealand in Galle, in the first Test of a two-match series in August, they pocketed 60 points. But Australia’s hard-earned win over England at Edgbaston in the recent Ashes got them only 24 points — one fifth of the total on offer.
But the ICC can breathe easy for the time being because barring his issue with “points”, Kohli otherwise had good things to say about the Championship.
“Look the importance of every game has become that much more. In a situation like it is now in this three-match series (where India are up 1-0), earlier you probably would have played out a draw. But teams will go for wins now to get those extra points. So I think it’s great for Test cricket.
“The matches are going to be that much more exciting is what we all feel and we have already experienced that. We have to be professional in every session that we play. It will be much more demanding on the players now, which is a good thing as it will keep the standard of Test cricket high. These are the only things that we have experienced so far in terms of changes.”
On Tuesday, his South Africa counterpart Faf du Plessis had a different point to make, but that too was in praise of the Championship.
“In the past, if you had a below-average pitch, you just got a warning, whereas now you get points deducted.That’s the big thing the Test championship has changed,” Du Plessis said here on Tuesday.
The Proteas skipper is not entirely right though as points will only be deducted if a match is abandoned because of a poor pitch. Not if it is branded “below average” and the game still sees a finish.
For the record, India currently are at the top of the Championship table having won all 160 points that they competed for. The top two sides in the table after a two-year period will face off in the final at Lord’s.
Match starts: 9.30 am