The much-anticipated first ICC Test Championship final will finally take place in the third to fourth week of June, after overcoming obstacles such as the fear of coronavirus outbreak, scheduling ambiguity, the proper implementation of the points system, and a slew of other challenges. The top two teams in the ICC Test rankings India and New Zealand will compete in the final of the first edition of the tournament. From that perspective, the best two Test teams of the competition will meet in the championship match. Who will win the ICC Test Championship in 2021 is discussed in this article.
How the journey of the ICC Test Championship started
The ICC (International Cricket Council) believes that interest in Test cricket is fading because of the popularity of One Day International as well as twenty20 format. They launched the ICC World Test Championship in 2019 in order to raise the interest in the longer version format among the global cricket fans.
Read: Bangladesh's Predicted XI: If ODI and Test Teams Played on the Same Day
As per some studies, cricket fans are becoming more interested in this format after the launch of the ICC Test Championship, as there is a possibility of winning a trophy.
The International Cricket Council has been working on popularizing Test cricket for a long time. They intended to do that by having a new World Cup for the longer version format, similar to the ICC ODI and T20 World Cup.
After being pushed back twice, the two-year-long Test Championship tournament officially began on August 1, 2019, with the Ashes series between England and Australia. The series eventually ended 2-2. A notable number of Test series were later canceled due to the outbreak of pandemic covid-19 but not the first ICC World Test Championship.
The participant teams of the championship
The top nine teams in the ICC Test rankings have taken part in this Test championship. India, New Zealand, South Africa, England, Australia, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, the West Indies, and Bangladesh are among the teams competing. It's also important to keep in mind that the Test championship's inaugural season does not include the teams from Zimbabwe, Afghanistan, or Ireland.
Each one of the nine teams was set to play six series, three at home and three away but not all the series was held because of Coronavirus. Each series consists of two to five matches.To put it another way, each team had the same number of series to play, but not the same number of matches.
Every match in the two-match series is worth 60 points, while each match in the five-match series is worth 24 points. If the match is tied, half points are added, and if the match is a draw, one-third point is added.
According to FTP fixtures, the tournament would feature 71 Tests across 27 series, and the top two teams in the point table would play the final at Lord's in June 2021. There were expected to be 72 matches in all, including the final one.
Read: Ban vs SL 2021: How Bangladesh can clinch the ODI series against Sri Lanka
The way India and New Zealand secured the final of the tournament
The Indian cricket team played six series in this tournament, winning five and drawing the other.They whitewashed the Windies (2-0), South Africa (3-0), and Bangladesh (2-0) in their first three Test Championship series. But handed a 2-0 series defeat against New Zealand in early 2020.
India came back strong during their away tour in Australia last year December and clinched the series 2-1. India also won the home series against England by 3-1. India won a total of 520 out of 720 points and finished top of the ICC World Test Championship points table.
On the other hand, New Zealand played five series, winning three, drawing one, and losing one.New Zealand has had a relatively quiet start in this Test Championship. They tied their first series (1-1) against Sri Lanka and lost their second series (3-0) to their arch-rivals Australia in December 2019.
New Zealand then bounced back with victories over India (2-0), the Windies (2-0), and Pakistan (2-0).The Blackcaps came second in the ICC Test Championship points table with 420 points out of 600 to their name.
Read: Bangladesh vs Sri Lanka ODI series 2021: Expected personal milestones to Reach
Who is the favorite to win the ICC Test Championship 2021?
New Zealand will have a slight advantage in the upcoming final even though India finished top in the group stage points table. New Zealand's confidence will be boosted ahead of the final by England's bouncy wicket, familiar weather, excellent pace attack, and batting skills of the lower order.
On the other hand, India would benefit if a sporting wicket is made in the Rose Bowl. In big matches, captains usually want to bowl first if they win the toss. However, if the pitch is green, the captains may choose to bowl in the hopes of quickly picking up wickets. In that case, the Kiwis will enjoy more advantages.
The players are usually under a lot of pressure to play in the final because of the high expectations. So, it doesn't matter who is stronger on paper because you would not be able to prevail if you are unable to play at your best. Overall, the two teams will face off in a tough battle.
The ICC Test Championship final will be held at the Rose Bowl cricket ground in Southampton from the 18th to the 22nd of June this year. The two participating teams will be declared joint champions if the final is tied or a draw.
Read: Bangladesh vs Sri Lanka series 2021: ODI Ranking Prediction
There is a common saying that no matter how strong the competitor is, anyone can win the final if they give it their all. Predicting who will win the ICC Test Championship 2021 is difficult because both teams have equal chances. However, since the top two teams are competing in the final, we can expect a thrilling battle. In that case, the captain who wins the toss will gain a competitive advantage, and the pitch will also have a major impact on the outcome of the match. But neutral cricket fans would want the best team to lift the trophy.