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Kohli on ICC altering WTC points system: 'Confusing, very difficult to understand'

India captain questions the decision to make qualification for final a percentage-based system

Nagraj Gollapudi
India captain Virat Kohli has questioned the ICC for altering the points system of the inaugural World Test Championship (WTC), saying the change is "confusing" and the governing body has a lot to explain.
India slipped to the second in the WTC standings after the ICC decided last week to rank teams "in order of percentage of points earned" from the contested matches.
Australia (296 points from 3 series) toppled India (360 points from 4 series) in the standings after the revision with a percentage of 82.22 compared to the latter's 75 percent.
Speaking during a virtual media briefing from Sydney on Thursday, a day before India start the white-ball leg of their tour of Australia, Kohli admitted he was trying to wrap his head around the ICC's decision.
"It is definitely surprising because we were told points are the matter of contention for the top two teams qualifying in the World Test Championship and now suddenly it has become percentage out of nowhere," Kohli said. "So it's very confusing, very difficult to understand why."
Kohli is the first Test captain to react to the decision, which was ratified recently by the ICC's chief executives committee. A self-admitted fan of Test cricket, Kohli had previously suggested that a better way to find more balance in the WTC could be by teams alternating between home and away series.
According to Kohli, it would have been better for the ICC to give some advance notice to teams on the new methodology devised in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic to determine the WTC finalists. "If these things were explained to us from day one then it would have been easier for us to understand the reasons why such a change has happened. But it has happened out of nowhere. I think further questions about this should be asked to the ICC and understand why this has been done and what are the reasons behind it."
Until recently, Kohli's team were favorites to make the WTC final. With 360 points, India were atop the points table, comfortably ahead of England (296) and Australia (292) their two closest competitors. However, after the WTC got disrupted by pandemic, which caused massive imbalance between the nine teams in terms of the series played (each was meant to originally player six), the ICC recently approved modifications to the process to determine the two finalists. Instead of overall points, the ICC approved the recommendation of its Cricket Committee which said that the two finalists will be determined by the highest percentage of points earned from the matches they contested.
Consequently, as explained here by ESPNcricinfo, India will need to ensure they win most of the eight Tests in their remaining two series - in Australia, followed by at home, against England - to book their place in the final scheduled for next June.

Nagraj Gollapudi is news editor at ESPNcricinfo