ICC World Test Championship
AdministratorInternational Cricket Council
FormatTest cricket
First edition2019–2021
Latest edition2021–2023
Next edition2023–2025
Tournament formatLeague and Final
Number of teams9
Current champion Australia
(1st title)
Most successful New Zealand
(1 title each)
Most runsEngland Joe Root (4,307)
Most wicketsAustralia Nathan Lyon (187)

The ICC World Test Championship, also referred to as the Test World Cup, is the international championship of Test cricket. It is a league competition run by the International Cricket Council (ICC), with its inaugural season starting in 2019.[1][2] In line with the ICC's goal of having one pinnacle tournament for each of the three formats of international cricket, it is the premier championship for Test cricket.[3] Australia are the current champions, having defeated India in the 2023 final. India have played in each WTC final, finishing runners up in both.

The league games of WTC are not considered as an ICC event and the broadcasting rights are with the host nation's cricketing board itself and not with ICC. But unlike the league stage matches, the WTC finals are considered to be an ICC event. The inaugural ICC World Test Championship started with the 2019 Ashes series and finished with New Zealand lifting the trophy after defeating India in the final in June 2021. The second ICC World Test Championship started on 4 August 2021 with the Pataudi Trophy series[4] and finished with Australia lifting the trophy after defeating India in the final in June 2023. The 2023-2025 ICC World Test Championship started in 2023 and will conclude with the finals in England in the summer of 2025.


This championship was first proposed in 1996 by Clive Lloyd, former cricketer and then manager of the West Indies team.[5] Later, in 2009, when the ICC met the MCC to discuss a proposed Test match championship. Former New Zealand captain Martin Crowe was one of the main brains behind this proposal.[6]

In July 2010 ICC chief executive Haroon Lorgat suggested a quadrennial tournament with the four best-ranked nations meeting in the semi-finals and a final, in a bid to boost flagging interest in the longest form of the sport. The first tournament was meant to replace the 2013 ICC Champions Trophy in England and Wales.[7][8]

The idea of a Test championship was considered by the ICC Chief Executives' Committee at a meeting at their headquarters in Dubai in mid-September 2010. ICC spokesperson Colin Gibson said that much more would be revealed after the meeting, and that if the championship was held in England, then the favoured final venue would be Lord's.[9] As expected, the ICC approved the plan and said that the first tournament would be held in England and Wales in 2013. The format of the tournament was also announced. It would comprise an inaugural league stage, played over a period of four years, with all ten current Test cricket nations (Australia, India, England, South Africa, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, New Zealand, West Indies, Zimbabwe, and Bangladesh) participating. After the league stage the top four teams will take part in the play-offs, with the final determining the Test cricket champions.[10]

There was a debate as to whether the play-off would take place between the top 8 teams or the top four teams, but the latter was unanimously chosen by the board. It was also announced that the tournament would replace the ICC Champions Trophy.[10] No decision had been made concerning how to decide the outcome of drawn matches in the knock-out stages.

However, in 2011, the ICC announced that the Test Championship would not take place until 2017, and that the 2013 tournament would be cancelled because of financial problems within the board, and its commitment to its sponsors and broadcasters. England and Wales, the original hosts of this cancelled tournament were awarded the 2013 ICC Champions Trophy instead, the tournament that the Test Championship was intended to replace.[11] This drew widespread criticism; both Greg Chappell and Graeme Smith criticised the ICC, saying that postponing the Test Championship was wrong and unjustified.[12][13] The Guardian reported that this postponement was a blow to Lord's, which had been expected to host the final.[14]

At the ICC Chief Executives' meeting in April 2012, it was confirmed that the ICC Champions Trophy would be last held in 2013 with the inaugural Test Championship play-offs being scheduled for June 2017.[15] The ICC said that there would be only one trophy for each format of the game, which meant that the Champions Trophy would no longer take place since the Cricket World Cup is the premier event for 50-over cricket.

The final would possibly have followed the historical timeless test format.[16] Further improvements in the structure of the championship have also been discussed.

However, in January 2014 the 2017 ICC World Test Championship was cancelled and the 2017 ICC Champions Trophy was reinstated.[17]

In October 2017, the ICC announced that a Test league had been agreed upon by its members, which would involve the top nine teams playing series over two years with the top two teams qualifying for a World Test League Championship Final, which will be considered as an ICC event.[18]

Tournament summary

2019–21 tournament

Main article: 2019–2021 ICC World Test Championship

The first tournament began with the 2019 Ashes series. In March 2020, matches were suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic, not resuming before July 2020, with several rounds of matches being postponed or ultimately cancelled. New Zealand became the first team to qualify for the final, when it was confirmed that the series between South Africa and Australia would not proceed,[19] followed by India. The inaugural World Test Championship Final was played between India and New Zealand from 18 to 23 June 2021 at Rose Bowl, Southampton, England.[20] Despite the opening and fourth day of the final being washed out by rain,[21] New Zealand managed to win in the final session of the reserve day and lifted the first World Test Championship trophy.[22]

2021–23 tournament

Main article: 2021–2023 ICC World Test Championship

The WTC 2021–23 cycle began in August 2021 with Pataudi Trophy (5 matches series between India and England).[23] The International Cricket Council officially announced the full programme with a new points system.[24] Australia qualified for the final by winning the 3rd Test Match of the 2022–23 Border-Gavaskar Trophy.[25] India qualified after Sri Lanka failed to win the first match of their series in New Zealand,[26] qualifying for the final for the second consecutive time. The final was played from 7 June to 11 June 2023 at The Oval, London, England, with Australia emerging as champions after defeating India by 209 runs. [27] This was India's second consecutive defeat at the WTC final.

2023–25 tournament

Main article: 2023–2025 ICC World Test Championship

The WTC 2023–25 cycle began with the 1st Ashes Test on 16 June 2023.[23] The International Cricket Council officially announced that the WTC final will be played at Lord's in the summer of 2025.[28]


Year Final host(s) Final Reference(s) Winning Captain
Venue Winners Result Runners-up Player of the match
2019–2021 England England Rose Bowl,
 New Zealand

249 & 140/2

New Zealand won by 8 wickets

217 & 170

New Zealand Kyle Jamieson [29][30][31] New Zealand Kane Williamson
2021–2023 England England The Oval,

469 & 270/8d

Australia won by 209 runs

296 & 234

Australia Travis Head [32][33][34] Australia Pat Cummins
2023–2025 England England Lord's,

Team performances

An overview of all the Test playing nations' performances:


 Australia 3rd W Q 3
 Bangladesh 9th 9th Q 3
 England 4th 4th Q 3
 India RU RU Q 3
 New Zealand W 6th Q 3
 Pakistan 6th 7th Q 3
 South Africa 5th 3rd Q 3
 Sri Lanka 7th 5th Q 3
 West Indies 8th 8th Q 3


W Winner
RU Runners-up
3rd 3rd Place
Q Qualified, Still in contention
Did not play

Tournament records

Main article: List of World Test Championship records

World Test Championship Records[35]
Most runs England Joe Root 4,307[36]
Most hundreds 13[37]
Most runs in a single tournament 1,915 (2021-2023)
Most hundreds in a single tournament 8 (2021–23)
Highest average (min 50 innings) Pakistan Babar Azam 55.43[38]
Highest score Australia David Warner v Pakistan Pakistan 335* (2019–21)[39]
Most wickets Australia Nathan Lyon 187[40]
Most wickets in a single tournament 83 (2021–23)
Best average (min 1000 balls) Cricket West Indies Kyle Mayers 17.47[41]
Best bowling in an innings New Zealand Ajaz Patel v India India 10/119 (2021–23)
Best bowling in a match 14/225 (2021–23)[42]
Most dismissals by a wicket-keeper Australia Alex Carey 133[43]
Most dismissals in a single tournament 68 (2021–23)
Most catches by a fielder Australia Steve Smith 87[44]
Highest score New Zealand New Zealand v Pakistan Pakistan 659/6d (2019–21)[45]
Lowest score India India v Australia Australia 36 (2019–21)[46]
As of 10 March 2024

See also


  1. ^ "Schedule for inaugural World Test Championship announced". International Cricket Council.
  2. ^ Ramsey, Andrew (20 June 2018). "Aussies to host Afghans as part of new schedule". cricket.com.au.
  3. ^ "Test Championship to replace Champions Trophy". Cricinfo. 29 June 2013.
  4. ^ "England vs India to kick off the second World Test Championship". ESPN Cricinfo. Retrieved 29 June 2021.
  5. ^ "Official World Test championship gains momentum". The Indian Express. Reuters. 20 November 1996. Archived from the original on 24 April 1997. Retrieved 22 August 2023.
  6. ^ ICC calls meeting with MCC to discuss proposed World Test Championship, The Telegraph. Retrieved 4 January 2012
  7. ^ "ICC news: Lorgat hints at Test championship in 2013 | Cricket News | Cricinfo ICC Site". ESPN Cricinfo. Retrieved 15 August 2011.
  8. ^ "ICC news: ICC could use 'timeless' Test for World Championship final | Cricket News | Cricinfo ICC Site". ESPN Cricinfo. Retrieved 15 August 2011.
  9. ^ ICC to hold World Test Cup in 2013?, The Times of India. Retrieved 4 January 2012
  10. ^ a b ICC approves Test championship, ESPNCricinfo. Retrieved 4 January 2012
  11. ^ World Test Championship to be Postponed; Financial Considerations to Blame Archived 6 December 2011 at the Wayback Machine, Crickblog. Retrieved 4 January 2012
  12. ^ Test Championship postponement a 'shame' – Greg Chappell ESPNCricinfo. Retrieved 4 January 2012
  13. ^ Ken Borland, ICC too slow on test championship says Smith, Stuff.co.nz, 17 November 2011. Retrieved 4 January 2012
  14. ^ Lord's suffers Test Championship blow as ICC scraps mandatory DRS rule, The Guardian, 11 October 2011. Retrieved 3 January 2012
  15. ^ No Champions Trophy after 2013, Cricinfo. Retrieved 17 April 2012
  16. ^ "ICC could revive 'timeless' Test match for world championship". The Guardian. Press Association. 18 July 2011. Retrieved 1 July 2020.
  17. ^ "Cricket". 1 NEWS NOW.
  18. ^ Brettig, Daniel (13 October 2017). "Test, ODI leagues approved by ICC Board". Cricinfo. Retrieved 30 July 2019.
  19. ^ "Scenarios: Who will face New Zealand in the WTC final?". ICC. 2 February 2021. Retrieved 5 February 2021. After the postponement of the South Africa-Australia Test series, New Zealand were confirmed as one of the finalists of the inaugural ICC World Test Championship, leaving one spot up for grabs for all of India, England and Australia.
  20. ^ "ICC announces World Cup schedule; 14 teams in 2027 And 2031". Six Sports. Retrieved 2 June 2021.
  21. ^ "WTC final: India, New Zealand, and weather exercise thrift". Six Sports. Retrieved 19 June 2021.
  22. ^ "Not luck, not fluke - New Zealand deserve to be the World Test Champions". ESPNcricinfo. 24 June 2021. Retrieved 27 June 2021.
  23. ^ a b "ICC World Test Championship 2021-2023". ESPNCricinfo. Retrieved 2 December 2022.
  24. ^ "ICC to introduce new points system for World Test Championship". SportsTiger. 30 June 2021. Retrieved 14 July 2021.
  25. ^ "Travis Head leads charge to seal emphatic chase for Australia". ESPNcricinfo. 3 March 2023. Retrieved 3 March 2023.
  26. ^ "India qualify for WTC final after New Zealand beat Sri Lanka in Christchurch". ESPNcricinfo. 13 March 2023. Retrieved 15 March 2023.
  27. ^ "ICC World Test Championship Final 2021-23". ESPNcricinfo. Retrieved 14 March 2023.
  28. ^ "The Oval and Lord's to host 2023 and 2025 WTC finals". ESPNCricinfo. 21 September 2022. Retrieved 2 December 2022.
  29. ^ "World Test Championship final: New Zealand beat India on sixth day to become world champions". BBC Sport. Retrieved 23 June 2021.
  30. ^ "New Zealand crowned World Test Champions after thrilling final day". International Cricket Council. Retrieved 26 June 2021.
  31. ^ "India v New Zealand: World Test Championship final, day five – as it happened". The Guardian. 22 June 2021. Retrieved 26 June 2021.
  32. ^ "Australia vs India | ICC World Test Championship | ICC". www.icc-cricket.com. Retrieved 14 March 2023.
  33. ^ "Australia crowned ICC World Test Champions with win over India". International Cricket Council. Retrieved 11 June 2023.
  34. ^ Gallan, Daniel (11 June 2023). "World Test Championship final: Australia beat India by 209 runs – as it happened". The Guardian. Retrieved 11 June 2023.
  35. ^ "ICC World Test Championship Records - Cricket's Remarkable Feats". ESPNcricinfo. Retrieved 9 December 2023.
  36. ^ "Most Runs World Test Championship". ESPN Cricinfo. Retrieved 1 June 2022.
  37. ^ "Most centuries World Test Championship". ESPN Cricinfo. Retrieved 1 June 2022.
  38. ^ "Highest Average World Test Championship". ESPN Cricinfo. Retrieved 1 June 2022.
  39. ^ "High Scores World Test Championship". ESPN Cricinfo. Retrieved 8 August 2021.
  40. ^ "Most Wickets World Test Championship". ESPN Cricinfo. Retrieved 8 August 2021.
  41. ^ "Best Bowling Average World Test Championship". ESPN Cricinfo. Retrieved 8 August 2021.
  42. ^ "Best Bowling Figures in a Match World Test Championship". ESPN Cricinfo. Retrieved 4 August 2021.
  43. ^ "Most Dismissals for a wicket-keeper World Test Championship". ESPNcricinfo. Retrieved 18 December 2023.
  44. ^ "Most Catches for a player World Test Championship". ESPNcricinfo. Retrieved 18 December 2023.
  45. ^ "Highest Team Totals". ESPN Cricinfo. Retrieved 8 August 2021.
  46. ^ "Lowest Team Totals". ESPN Cricinfo. Retrieved 8 August 2021.