ICC finalised Southampton as the venue for the summit clash and said that they have given themselves the best possible chance to deliver a great final
The International Cricket Council (ICC) has finalised the Ageas Bowl, Southampton as the venue for the final of the World Test Championship (WTC). The final, which will be held from June 18 to June 22 will take place between India and New Zealand.
The decision came a couple of days after BCCI President Sourav Ganguly had informed that the summit clash will indeed be not taking place at the Lord's as it was earlier slated to. The ICC in collaboration with the England Cricket Board (ECB) arrived at the decision of zeroing in on Southampton as the venue, that the match could be staged safely with the minimum risk of COVID-19. The game will be taken place in a bio-secure bubble at the venue.
"In selecting The Hampshire Bowl, the ICC drew on ECB’s experience of delivering a full summer of bio-safe international cricket in 2020. The venue provides world-class playing and training facilities, giving both teams the best possible environment in which to prepare. Whilst the on-site accommodation will significantly reduce the risk around COVID-19 transmission and better protect the health and safety of everyone involved in delivering the final," the ICC release said.
https://t.co/aTRWkb6pOF— ICC Media (@ICCMediaComms) March 10, 2021
ICC World Test Championship final at Southampton
The ICC also added that a limited number of fans could also be allowed to watch the game if the UK Government's phased easing of lockdown goes ahead as planned.
While congratulating both India and New Zealand for the qualification, Geoff Allardice, ICC General Manager said, "We are confident that in selecting the Hampshire Bowl, we have given ourselves the best possible chance to successfully deliver the final whilst keeping everyone involved safe and healthy and giving fans the opportunity to watch the two best Test teams in the world go head-to-head for the right to call themselves the ICC World Test Champions.
“I would like to thank the ECB for their guidance and advice to enable us to make this decision, which gives us the best possible opportunity to deliver a safe and successful World Test Championship Final," he added.
New Zealand was the first side to qualify for the much-anticipated game after Australia's tour to South Africa was postponed due to COVID-19 concerns. India qualified after they beat England 3-1 in the recently concluded four-match Test series and finished the current WTC cycle as the table-toppers with 72.2 percentage of points (520 points out of 720 points).