Four key series ahead of the World Test Championship final

England v South Africa (three test series) – August and September 2022 As England is out of the race to participate in next year’s World Test Championship final, they can have a say in who will make the decision during their next series against the Proteas.

Brendon McCullum’s team will enter the series full of confidence in the wake of four consecutive test triumphs, but South Africa will be well prepared for this challenge and will want to keep the lead at the top of the World Test Championship standings.

Kagiso Rabada’s fitness will be key to the series’ outcome, with the South African pacer expert currently battling an ankle problem and already banned from the ongoing T20I series in Ireland. Will South Africa be able to quell the “Bazball” phenomenon? Or will the English giant go on with the new coach and the new skipper?

This is a mouth-watering series that will tell us a lot about South Africa and whether it is in fact good enough to hold its place at the top of the World Test Championship standings.

Pakistan v England (three test series) – December 2022

If Pakistan is to have any chance of reaching next year’s World Test Championship final, they need to find a little more consistency and start with the home series against England at the end of the year. Skipper Babar Azam continues to perform well in all game formats, but the Pakistani captain will need the likes of Imam-ul-Haq and Abdullah Shafique to continue making a good contribution if he is to have any chance of reaching the World Test Championship final.

Pakistan’s rotating attack will be crucial during this series as the likes of Jonny Bairstow, Joe Root and Ben Stokes will likely try to attack the hosts’ spinners as much as possible to try and gain the rise. England doesn’t have a huge depth in their ranks which means Pakistan should have the upper hand in this pivotal series that could very well shape the top of the World Test Championship standings.

Australia v South Africa (three-test series) – December and January 2022 and 2023

The winner of this series will be in the pits to qualify for the World Test Championship final, with both teams currently occupying the top two places in the standings. Visitors will have plenty of support for Down Under, with a large South African contingent likely in attendance for the three-test series that will be pivotal to the World Test Championship race.

It is also the first series of red balls that the two nations have played against each other since the infamous 2018 series which included the Cape Town Test which saw a series of Australian players sanctioned by Cricket Australia for tampering with the ball.

Australian duo Steve Smith and David Warner will be eager to atone for those dark days of four years ago, so seek out the pair to attack South African bowlers and try to impress their authority ahead of time. Interestingly, Australia have not won a streak against South Africa at home since the summer of 2008/09, so expect this to be tight.

India v Australia (four test series) – February and March 2023 The battle for next year’s Border-Gavaskar trophy could ultimately decide the two World Test Championship finalists and, given the recent form, it doesn’t look good for Pat Cummins’ side. Australia’s 2004 tour of India may have seen future skipper Michael Clarke and evergreen all-rounder Dinesh Karthik make their test debut, but it’s also the last time the Australians have won a string of tests on Indian soil.

Virat Kohli with the Border Gavaskar Trophy which India has held since 2017
Virat Kohli with the Border Gavaskar Trophy which India has held since 2017

Since then Australia has only achieved one test triumph in India alone – an emphatic 333 run victory in Pune in 2017 in the wake of an incredible 12/70 by spinner Steve O’Keefe – so it all favors more pain for tourists. .

Australia are leaving no stone unturned in their preparation for this series, having recently sent eight promising players to Chennai to acclimate to Indian conditions before traveling to the subcontinent next year. Whether this makes much difference remains to be seen, but this series is likely to be highly contested and not to be missed.

Source: – Grillo Icc