Why there is a need to work on points system in Test Cricket?

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Test cricket is the purest form of the game and it is considered as the ultimate game show. We have seen over the years that cricketers are enjoying five-day games a lot despite lack of interest from the fans. To make things more interesting, the governing body of international cricket came up with an idea of awarding points system based on the performance of the Test playing nations. A team finishing at the top is handed Test Mace after the cutoff date. This is the reward for the performance over a period of time in which they play a couple of series. It is not an easy job to retain the number one slot as teams fight it out brilliantly in the middle. The players are the ones who make sure that their respective contingents remain in the business throughout the year. There have been calls to convert this number one race into championship but things have fallen flat on account of schedule and less interest from the sponsors. However, this is not a dead idea as far as future is concerned. We might see teams taking on each other for the Test championship wherein the winner will take the trophy. The ICC has not dropped this proposal completely and are looking for a way out where they can place its idea into reality. Before this, they will have to work out on the points system which is as strange as character of Shane Warne and other lover boys of cricket. The recent Test between India and Bangladesh has once again highlighted the point’s issue. The match ended in a draw and Team India was the one who ended on the losing side in terms of ranking. To make things more clear, let me paint a real picture in front of you. Before the match, the team led by Virat Kohli was number two but India dropped down to No.4 in the ICC Test Rankings after their one-off Test match against Bangladesh ended on level terms courtesy of regular rain.


The visitors tried their best to get a positive result on the final day, but they ultimately just did not have enough time to force through a victory. Courtesy of the result, they have dropped two points and are tied at fourth spot with England and Pakistan at the moment. New Zealand have taken advantage of India’s slip as they have moved up to No.3 in the rankings. There is no change, however, to the top two with South Africa and Australia continuing their dominance at the top of the rankings. Left frustrated by rain interruptions which scuttled the chance of an outright result against Bangladesh in the one-off Test in Dhaka, Indian captain Virat Kohli said it is not a bad idea to have reserve days for the longer-format games as well. More than 250 overs were lost owing to frequent rain during the match which ended in a draw and Kohli said like in the case of ODIs, the concept of reserve days can be given a try in Tests. "That is a very debatable question but there can be a thought given to that. You might add another day seeing the situation of the game," Kohli said in the post-match press conference. "If there is a possible result, there is no harm in giving the team, which is dominating, a chance to compete in three sessions and go for a win or earn a draw so that the deserving team can get a result. But I am not sure how the discussions would go on this," he added. The new Indian captain is absolutely right as there is no way one can compete with so called rain god. How can India be punished for something natural? Why points were docked when they had no role in the outcome?


Reserve days will therefore come in handy in situations like these. If this is introduced in the near future we could see real oriented Test matches which is one of the way to draw crowd to the stadiums. The step mother kind of stuff has happened with other teams in the past and they have every right to complaint about it. No matter, who plays in game, the real desire is to go for a victory. The 22 players competing against each other have only one goal and that is to surpass the opposite numbers. The most recent example clearly prove that India ended on a losing side despite a draw as they lost points after the match yielded no result. The allocation of points system has worked against top teams in case of a draw match even if natural calamities had a major role to play. There shouldn’t be any change in the points system if a match ends on equal note after completion of all the overs in five days but certainly a new policy is required in case of disturbance from the factors beyond human control. Apart from this, having a one match Test series is a bad idea in the first place as it leaves with no chance of a comeback. With a two or three-match Test series, both teams have time to work on their plans and draft a strategy to win a series. The ICC has never revealed the formula of its points calculation but it is evident that if the difference in points between the two playing nations is 40 or more, the team ranked below will gain a bit more than the team placed above in case of a draw. By not changing rules and regulations, the ICC are depriving teams of a fair contest. To add more to this, its high time to think about the fans watching a game in the stadium and others back home on their TV sets. There is a common believe that Test cricket is losing its shine with the popularity of shorter formats especially T20 matches. In such scenario, the efforts should be made to churn out results in most of the Test matches as everyone desire for results rather than interesting or dull draw. The least the authorities can do is to ensure that teams are given maximum overs to go for a result.


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