The Indian cricket team will be awarded a million dollars by the International Cricket Council (ICC) if they win the first Test against visitors Australia, to be played in Pune from February 23. The big cash reward will be given to the team as prize money for retaining the number one ICC Ranking in Tests. The cut-off date for winning the amount is April 1, 2017. A win in the first Test in Pune will ensure that India cement their place as the top-ranked team in the sport’s longest format till that date.
The prize money of $500,000 for the world’s highest ranked Test team was doubled by the ICC in 2015.
India and Australia play four Test matches in the series and the visitors too are in with a shout to scoop up the $1 million dollar prize. But while India have to win just one out of the four Tests to retain their top spot, Australia will have to ensure that they beat India by at least a 3-0 margin, drawing one.
Given India’s current form, that possibility seems highly unlikely. The Virat Kohli-led side is currently unbeaten in their last 19 Test matches, and haven’t lost at home in their previous 20 Tests.
Australia, who are ranked second at present, have struggled in recent months in Tests. The last time they visited the sub-continent for a Test series, Steve Smith’s side was mauled 3-0 in Sri Lanka by the islanders.
They were also beaten 2-1 by South Africa at home last year, which led to severe criticism of the team in Australia.