The inaugural ICC World Test Championship began in August 2019 with The Ashes in England; it culminates with an iconic clash between India and New Zealand in June 2021 in the ‘Ultimate Test’.
This two-year period of Test cricket, where teams played matches home and away for WTC point, was introduced by the ICC to boost context in Test matches and to prevent the apparently dying stage of the 5-day format. To an extent, it had served its purpose well.
Since 2018, Test cricket has seen a historical change as wickets have never fallen quicker in the 20th century than it has in the past three years. Pitches in Test cricket have been helpful to bowlers – spinners in Asia and pacers outside it.
At the time of writing, with 70 wickets to his name ace Australia speedster Pat Cummins is the leading wicket-taker in the maiden ICC WTC cycle, although India’s Ravichandran Ashwin can pip him over as the off-spinner has taken 68 wickets in this cycle. There have been three hat-tricks so far in this cycle.
ICC WTC 2019-21: 3 Bowlers Who Took A Hat-Trick In The Tournament (Before the Final):
Jasprit Bumrah vs West Indies, 2019
“I think he is the most complete bowler in world cricket right now.” This was Virat Kohli’s assessment of Jasprit Bumrah after the pacer had helped India whitewash West Indies in their own home.
Bumrah had entered Test cricket, and on his first three tours – to South Africa, England, and Australia – he had become India’s spearhead. On his fourth Test tour, to the West Indies in 2019, he returned as the highest wicket-taker in that series – taking 13 scalps in 2 Tests at an incredible average of 9.23
Bumrah was quite unplayable in those couple of Tests, as Darren Bravo, Shamarh Brooks, and Roston Chase found out in the second of those Tests. They became the victims of the pacer’s sheer pace and skill – swing and seam movement at the absolutely immaculate line and length – in his maiden Test hat-trick, which was also the first hat-trick of the ICC WTC 2019-21.
Bravo was caught behind in the slips, while Brooks and Chase were dismissed lbw; the third wicket in this hat-trick came via use of DRS by Virat Kohli. Bumrah became the third Indian bowler to take a Test hat-trick, after Harbhajan Singh and Irfan Pathan.