The ICC has confirmed the World Test Championship (WTC) points system will be amended, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, to decide the finalists on the basis of the percentage of points earned from those they contested for. The ICC Board approved the recommendation by its cricket committee, headed by Anil Kumble, which said that a team's points earned will be calculated as a percentage of the points that were up for grabs, and the new standings will be decided accordingly, as had been reported by ESPNcricinfo last week.
The decision was taken at the ICC's last quarterly meeting of the year which began on Monday this week.
Before the recommendations were approved, India led the table with 360 points followed by Australia on 296. Under the new system, India's percentage points will now be 75% - 360 out of the 480 points they played for in four series - placing them second behind Australia, who will have 82.2%, calculated as 296 out of the 360 points they played for across three series.
An ICC release stated that even though current regulations say that matches not completed shall be treated as draws with points split, the cricket committee decided to determine the final WTC standings from matches that would be completed before the final scheduled to be played next June in England.
"Both the Cricket Committee and Chief Executives Committee supported the approach of ranking teams based on completed matches and points earned as this reflects their performance and doesn't disadvantage teams that have been unable to compete all of their matches through no fault of their own," ICC chief executive Manu Sawhney said in a release. "We explored a whole range of options, but our Members felt strongly that we should proceed as planned with the first ever World Test Championship Final in June next year."
The new system does not drastically change the standings although a team like New Zealand, who retain their fourth spot behind Australia, Indian and England, might see it as a better opportunity to finish in the top two. If they earn the maximum 240 points from their two home series against West Indies and Pakistan in the coming months, they'll finish with 70% points (420 out of 600). That would make them compete with England and India who take on each other in a five-match series early next year, and India also play four Tests in Australia in December-January. England, meanwhile, are trying to reschedule their postponed series against Sri Lanka.
ICC introduces minimum age restrictions
The ICC Board also introduced a minimum age restriction of 15 years for international cricket "to improve safeguarding of players". The restriction will apply across all cricket including ICC events, bilateral cricket and Under-19 matches. "To play in any form of men's, women's or Under-19 international cricket players must now be a minimum age of 15," the release said.
"In case of exceptional circumstances, a Member Board could apply to the ICC to allow a player under the age of 15 to play for them. This could include where the player's playing experience and mental development and wellbeing demonstrates that they would be capable of coping with the demands of international cricket."
Introduction of Excluded Persons Policy in Anti-Corruption Code
The ICC Board also introduced an Excluded Persons Policy as part of the Anti-Corruption Code "with immediate effect". The ICC release said it enables the ICC ACU to exclude corruptors who are "non-participants" to the Code to prevent people who attempt to corrupt the sport. The release further said it will also make it an offence for "participants" to the code to associate with excluded non-participants.
"This is a significant addition to the ICC Anti-Corruption Code and enables the sport to impose an exclusion order on known corruptors preventing them from any involvement in cricket activities including playing, administration, financing, attendance or any kind of involvement in a league, team or franchise," Sawhney said.
"It will allow our ACU to better disrupt the activities of non-participant corruptors which currently the ICC have little, if any, control over. This is crucial if we are to continue to protect the integrity of our sport."