New Zealand are set to play their first ever match under the aegis of the two-year cycle of the championship © AFP
Kane Williamson, New Zealand’s captain, reckons that the World Test Championships will add more value to the five-day format of the game. Williamson was speaking to the press ahead of Wednesday’s (August 14) first Test against hosts Sri Lanka at Galle, which will also be New Zealand’s first ever match under the aegis of the two-year cycle of the championship, with the final scheduled to be held in June, 2021.
New Zealand will be back into the international fold, exactly a month after the World Cup final heartbreak and the 29-year old captain felt that the upcoming Championships was another opportunity to win a trophy. “It’s a welcome addition to the Test format, bringing that context into every Test match that you play,” Williamson told reporters on Tuesday (August 13). “Every time you play any team it’s very, competitive, but now there’s that added carrot where in two years time everyone is vying for an opportunity to play in a Test Championship final, which will be a really exciting thing to be a part of,” he added.
While the World Test Championships is a long drawn affair and involves nine Test playing nations, the visitors have some immediate added incentive ahead of the 2-Test series. Presently ranked second in the ICC Test rankings table, New Zealand can leapfrog India if they can complete a 2-0 series win and if Virat Kohli’s men fail to beat West Indies by an identical margin in their upcoming Test series.
“If that happens, that would be great. The thing with rankings is that they fluctuate throughout a season, and are purely a reaction to the cricket that you’re playing,” the skipper said. “For us, we’re just focused on cricket because that gives us the best chance of success. We’re looking forward to the challenge here against Sri Lanka,” Williamson added.
Bad weather though might prove to be a matter of concern for both teams with rain forcing the teams indoor on the pre-match day. More showers are forecast during the course of the Test, but Williamson sought to be positive about the conditions. “In the 10 or 12 days that we’ve been here, about eight of them have been rained out. It’s just one of those things that you try and prepare mentally as best as you can,” he concluded.