The final of the World Test Championship (WTC) will be played at the Ageas Bowl or Hampshire Bowl in Southampton instead of Lord’s in London as originally planned, the ICC confirmed on Wednesday.
The final will be played between India & New Zealand has been moved from Lord’s to Southampton due to coronavirus safety protocols. “The final of the ICC World Test Championship between India and New Zealand will be staged in a bio-secure bubble at the Hampshire Bowl in Southampton,” the ICC said in a statement.
“The decision, taken by the ICC Board, follows discussions with the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) where a range of options were considered to ensure the inaugural final could be staged safely with the potential impact of COVID-19 minimized for all involved,” the statement further read.
Southampton hosted a majority of England’s games in 2020 & the ICC said that played a role in the venue being selected for the WTC final. The fact that the stadium has a hotel attached to it was also a key factor.
“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 said.
Limited number of spectators will be allowed for the WTC finals if the UK Government’s phase of easing COVID-19 Lockdown measures proceed as planned, the ICC added in its statement. New Zealand became the first team to qualify for the final of the inaugural edition of the World Test Championship & India became the second team to qualify for the final of WTC after wrapping up the Test series against England at 3-1 scores.