ICC WTC final to be played in Southampton: Sourav Ganguly
The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) president Sourav Ganguly, on Monday, confirmed that the ICC World Test Championship final between India and New Zealand will take place in Southampton on June 18. As per the previous schedule, the high-voltage grand finale was set to be held at the Lord's Cricket Ground. Here are the further details.
'The final is in Southampton', confirms Ganguly
Ganguly confirmed the same to India Today. "I'm looking forward to attending the WTC final between India and NZ in Southampton," he said. "Yeah, it's in Southampton. It was decided long time ago. Due to COVID and they [in Southampton] have the hotel absolutely close. When England resumed play after COVID, they had a lot of matches in Southampton due to the same reason."
The Ageas Bowl is being prepared for the final
Although the International Cricket Council (ICC) is yet to give an official confirmation on the venue, it is understood that the Ageas Bowl Stadium in Southampton is being prepared for the ICC WTC summit clash. A recent report in Cricbuzz suggested that the ICC, along with host board, England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB), has check-listed the Ageas Bowl as the venue.
Why has the venue changed?
Previously, Lord's (London) was in contention to host the final. However, Southampton is being considered now due to the modern facilities at the ground. The Ageas Bowl has a five star hotel attached to the stadium, which solves plenty of logistical and operational issues amid the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2020, Southampton hosted several Test matches (involving WI and Pakistan), providing a bio-secure bubble.
The playing conditions will be announced soon
It has been learned that an official announcement will be made soon. Along with the venue, the ICC is also expected to come up with the playing conditions for the ICC WTC final. Notably, a reserve day (June 23) has been kept for the final.
India and New Zealand to lock horns in final
Team India recently qualified for the ICC World Test Championship final after beating England 3-1 in the four-match Test series. They won the final Test by an innings and 25 runs, having reclaimed the top spot in the ICC Test Team Rankings. Meanwhile, New Zealand had become the first team to qualify, earlier. The top two teams will now clash in the high-octane final.