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Tuesday, Aug 20, 2019

Mahela Jayawardene thinks World Test Championship is a ‘unique concept’

According to Mahela Jayawardena, the World Test Championship needs to have the same format as in the other event; otherwise, it will become a bilateral series.

cricket Updated: Jul 30, 2019 17:59 IST
England batting consultant Mahela Jayawardena during a nets session.
England batting consultant Mahela Jayawardena during a nets session.(Getty Images)

A day after ICC officially launched the World Test Championship, Sri Lankan former batsman Mahela Jayawardene has termed it as a unique concept. “It’s quite unique. I’m pretty confident that it will attract a lot of interest,” ICC quoted Jayawardene as saying on Tuesday. According to Jayawardene, the World Test Championship needs to have the same format as in the other event; otherwise, it will become a bilateral series.

“We have a World Championship in other formats and I think it’s important to bring that over into Test cricket. Otherwise, it just becomes bilateral series after bilateral series,” Jayawardene said.

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ICC World Test Championship was announced last year, with the top nine full member nations Australia, Bangladesh, England, India, New Zealand, Pakistan, South Africa, Sri Lanka and the West Indies competing in a total of 71 Test matches across 27 bi-lateral series over two years.

The teams will wear names and numbers on the back of their Test jerseys, which is an ICC initiative to help fans connect with players.

“Once you bring in that concept, there will be enough competitive structure in the five-day game to make fans excited and keep them gripped over a number of years,” he added.

The top two teams with most points as on April 30, 2021, will then contest in the WTC final on June 2021 in the UK. Each of the nine teams will play six of the eight possible opponents across a two-year period, with three series at home and as many series away and a total of 120 points up for grab within each series.

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“They will be looking forward to seeing their teams play when there are lots at stake. We will see where the teams rank over a period of time and who the best teams are, home and away. It’s important to keep the Test game healthy. We cannot be afraid of evolution to do that,” Jayawardene said.

“This is one way of changing the game. It’s not easy to sustain three different formats but you have to give the same emphasis and focus to each one,” he added.

Jayawardena thinks Test game produces quality cricketer and it a right way to test them through Championship.

“The Test game produces good quality cricketers. It tests them in the right way and over a Championship season, players will have to prove their worth in a variety of situations and in every different set of conditions,” Jayawardene said.

Former batsman added that New Zeland’s tour of Sri Lanka is always a tough challenge as they are a settled Test team with a strong bowling unit.

“New Zealand has just been in a World Cup final and cricket will be on a high in the country at the moment. A tour of New Zealand is always a tough challenge. They have a settled team in Test cricket and their bowling unit in particular looks very strong,” Jayawardene said.

“It’s a great test for Sri Lanka, to go out and challenge themselves to perform. It’s not going to be easy to beat New Zealand away from home, but every point is vital for Sri Lanka going forward in the World Test Championship,” he concluded.

First Published: Jul 30, 2019 17:44 IST

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