Former Australia captain Michael Clarke said that the World Test Championship will do to Test cricket what the World Cup does for the sport in general. The Championship starts with the Ashes as Australia take on England starting on August 1 and Clarke expects a tough series between “two very good teams”.
“I think it’s great for Test cricket. The top two teams playing in something like the World Cup final at Lord’s in 12 months (24 months) time. It’s a little bit like the World Cup (in the way that) no matter where you are ranked in the ICC standings, the team that wins the World Cup is I think seen as the best team in the world. With Test cricket it will be the same, whoever wins the championship is the best team in the world,” Clarke said on the sidelines of the MedParliament, where the 38-year-old shared his journey and insights in healthcare entrepreneurship.
The Ashes will be the platform for the return of Steve Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft to Test cricket after they served out their bans for their involvement in the 2018 ball-tampering scandal. Tim Paine, who replaced Smith as captain after the latter received his ban, will be leading the team and Clarke felt that he has a good team at his disposal.
“This Australian team is very talented. (Josh) Hazlewood’s back in the squad, Warner, Smith and Bancroft are back. James Pattinson is fit again and he is the squad. It will be interesting to see what XI they will pick,” said Clarke.
Getting underway on August 1 with the first Ashes Test in Birmingham, the inaugural WTC will see the top nine Test teams in the world — Australia, Bangladesh, England, India, New Zealand, Pakistan, South Africa, Sri Lanka and the West Indies — compete in 71 Test matches across 27 series, played over two years.
The top two teams will contest in the WTC Final in June 2021 (to be played in the UK) and the winners will be crowned ICC World Test Champions.