With the World Test Championship a mere 4 years away, it makes sense to start making predictions as to who will be playing. After all, true test cricket fans should be booking their tickets to England as soon as possible, and you’ll want to know if your team is playing right?
South Africa – Almost certain. Smith won’t still be around by 2017, neither will Kallis. Regardless, the bowling attack which is currently the best in the world will still be breaking skulls. As well as that, South Africa appears to have a never ending supply of talent coming through. It is inconceivable that they won’t still be in the top 4 in 2017.
India – Very likely. The young players that India has recently been blooding have comprehensively bloodied Australia. The team that looked so stale and out of touch when they lost eight tests in a row have largely been shuffled on, and Indian test cricket seems to have a new lease on life. They will stay near the top.
England – Also very likely. The young English players who have been tested recently have all come through very well. Even if they hadn’t, the core of the team in Cook, Trott, KP, Prior and Bell could all still be playing in 2017, a formidable prospect for any opposition. England will stay in the top 4 by virtue of almost never losing.
Australia – Far less likely. I’m going to come out and say it, Australian cricket is heading for a low period. No, three losses in India don’t mean they are suddenly terrible, but the Sheffield Shield production line seems to have dried up, and the batting relies heavily on Clarke. Clarke, who has a bad back that isn’t getting any better. Rotation appears to be damaging their most promising young bowlers too, with Starc being the latest injury.
Pakistan – Could see it happening. Well, its Pakistan, so why would you bet against it? (Or bet for it. Or bet in any way on a match involving Pakistan.)
Sri Lanka – Almost certainly not. The middle order greats will have long retired, and the new guard isn’t looking particularly strong. The bowling attack is carried by Herath, and he is 35. I can’t see them winning enough games away to make a charge up the rankings.
New Zealand – Slightly more likely than Sri Lanka. The only way is up for this team, fortunately most of the key players are on the right side of 30. The seam bowling attack is maturing into a potent unit, and in English conditions could prove a handful if they make it to the top 4. Of course, at some stage the team as a whole will have to stop being promising and start actually winning.
West Indies – Wild card. The team has developed and grown magnificently under Sammy, and they now play with the grit required to win tests. Without Chanderpaul, who will be about 78 in 2017, their batting will struggle. WI will probably continue to be just a strong limited overs side, but don’t count them out yet.
Bangladesh – Let’s wait until India 2021 for them. If they played every test between now and 2017 on spinning decks in the subcontinent, they would have a chance. Otherwise, no.
Zimbabwe – They probably have a better chance of losing test status than making it to the World Test Championship.