London: England cricket captain Andrew Strauss received the ICC Test Championship mace on Wednesday for leading the team, which finished on top of the ICC Test Championship table on the annual cut-off date of April 1 this year.
Clive Lloyd, chairman of the ICC Cricket Committee and former West Indies captain, presented the mace to Strauss, who also collected a cheque of USD 175,000 in a ceremony that was staged at Coronation Garden at Lord's here and attended by England and Wales Cricket Board chief executive David Collier.
"We are proud to be presented with the ICC Test Championship mace again in recognition of retaining our position as the number-one ranked Test side in the world," said Strauss. "However, everyone involved in the current England set-up remains fully motivated and determined to continue working hard as there is still a great deal more we want to achieve over the coming months and years."
England finished on top of the ICC Test Championship table on the annual cut-off date of April 1 this year.
Lloyd, who led West Indies to the ICC Cricket World Cup victories in 1975 and 1979, said the mace is a symbol of excellence and recognition of a team's outstanding achievement and England should be proud of their feat. "The mace is a symbol of excellence and recognition of a side's outstanding achievement in the toughest and most traditional format of the game. England have all the reasons to be proud of their feat as they are only the third team after Australia and India to hold the mace when the annual prize money is handed out," said Lloyd.
The Test mace was in Australia’s hands for all but three months (August-November 2009) since it was inaugurated in May 2001, before India claimed it after finishing on top of the table at the April 1, 2010 cut-off date. Last year, England defeated India 4-0 during the English summer to claim the mace at The Oval for the first time by virtue of becoming the number-one ranked Test side.
"Test cricket remains the pinnacle form of the game and to further recognise the achievements of the leading teams, an increased total of US $3.8m in prize money will be shared among the top four sides in the next three years, including a distribution of US $1.2million at the April 1, 2013 cut-off date, with [the] number-one [side] receiving US $450,000. We are also looking forward to the road to the inaugural World Test Championship starting in 2013, from which time every Test match will count towards determining who takes part in the finals event in 2017," said Lloyd.
England now enter their domestic international season as the number-one ranked Test side for the first time since the current rankings system was introduced in 2003. To stay on top of the Test Championship table, England need to win the upcoming series against West Indies by 2-0 or better. Their failure to do so will mean South Africa will become the number-one ranked side.