India and Pakistan have taken big leg towards what could be a historic first-ever World Test Championship final between the two arch-rivals. Yes, it’s a bit too farfetch, considering that the third cycle of the WTC has just start and the final is two years away.
But with the kind of headstart India and Pakistan have got not only because of their series wins against West Indies and Sri Lanka respectively but also because of ICC’s heavy sanctions impose on England and Australia, one shouldn’t be pull up for daring to dream.
ICC cut 10 points from Australia and as many as 19 from England for maintaining a slow-over rate in the recently-conclude Ashes which end up in a riveting 2-2 draw.
England lost five points for the over-rate offence in the fifth Test, three in the fourth Test, nine in the second, and two in the first Test.
This means the Ben Stokes-led England met the over-rate criteria only once during the Ashes.
Australia have fared slightly better in that respect as their over-rate was fine in four of the five Tests.
But in the one that it wasn’t, they paid a heavy price.
Pat Cummins and team lost 10 WTC points for being 10 overs short in the fourth Test that end up as a draw due to multiple rain interruptions.
As per the new ICC guidelines, a team is docked a WTC point for every over they are found short of the propose over-rate, taking all possible delays into account.
As a result, Australia and England, despite earning exactly the same points (28) after the five-match Ashes, are at different ends of the WTC points table.
After the 10-point deduction, Australia’s percentage of points (PCT) stands at 30.
They are at No.3 in the current WTC points table.
England, after losing 19 points, have got a points (PCT) of only 15 and they are currently at No.5 in the points table, even behind West Indies, who are yet to win a Test in this WTC.
New Zealand, South Africa, and Bangladesh are yet to play in this WTC but ICC’s over-rate punishment for England and Australia have sent the two major contenders on the backfoot.
India and Pakistan won’t mind this one bit.
Pakistan have made a perfect start to the 2023-25 campaign with a point percentage of 100 after their clean sweep against Sri Lanka.
After a closely fought first Test, Babar Azam’s team dominate the hosts with a thumping innings victory in the second Test.
While India in the second spot with 66.66%, who have a win and a draw against their name after their series against West Indies.
India set the tone with a massive innings win in the first Test but rain dampened their hopes of a clean sweep in the second Test that ended in stalemate.
ICC heavy penalties did not go down too well with England and Australia fans.
In fact, Australia opener Usman Khawaja took to social media to criticise ICC for its decision.
Usman Khawaja Tweet :
Don't even get the chance to bowl in the second innings at Manchester due to 2 days of rain and @ICC still issue fines and take 10 WTC points of us for slow over rates! That makes a lot of sense… 🤦🏾♂️ pic.twitter.com/NKuGI61n2n— Usman Khawaja (@Uz_Khawaja) August 2, 2023
Before England and Australia had 26 points each and a point percentage of 43.33.
After the penalties, Australia drop to 30% and England plummeted to 15%, taking them below West Indies at 16.67%.