There are very few times in history when teams not playing still stand the opportunity to be reckoned amongst the best and certainly as contenders for a coveted prize. While Australia’s unpopular decision not to tour South Africa has caught the heat, they might still manage to make the roster to be reckoned amongst the best.
The England tour of India has occupied an even more critical importance. Even as England face heat over deciding to tour India after abandoning their tour of South Africa and playing in Sri Lanka despite Covid positive results, they have a job not only of pulling back India but also, preventing Australia from making the most of the contest between the other two of the so-called big three.
It was previously thought that Australia had potentially forfeited their chance of making the inaugural World Test Championship final in England in June. However, it seems all is not lost even if Australia have decided not to travel to South Africa. A lot will depend on how well India perform at home, stopping England who have warmed up with the tour of the Emerald Isles recently.
India will need to win the Test series by at least three Tests as the margin to put it rather plainly which would earn them a berth in the contest against New Zealand. New Zealand fought their way to the top and became a confirmed finalist after Australia’s tour pull out. Now it is for New Zealand to await the result of this contest in India, the first Test series since the pandemic outbreak, to know who they will be playing against.
It appears that although it would seem unfair that Australia would earn a berth without keeping their commitments, what is even worse that is that the permutations and combinations suggest that ironically a closely contested series between India and England will give Australia the chance to move on ahead to the final.
There has been much criticism of the points system of the inaugural ICC World Test championship. Although there has been the one significant change since the pandemic in that the ICC changed the format from points system to the percentage of points system, there is still much to be said for creating a system for rewarding teams for winning overseas and having a fairer points system given that not all teams are playing an equal number of Test through the year and in each series. A better parity might have seen a different scenario.
As things stand while Cricket Australia stand accused of double standards and of having an eye on profit-making, Australia’s cricket team might still be in the reckoning to make the hallowed Lord’s turf after all. Despite their heroics down under, India still have to pull out another rabbit out the hat, as hard as it is to imagine.