Nearly 4,000 spectators set to be allowed for WTC final
In a major development, the ICC World Test Championship final between New Zealand and India is set to be held in the presence of about 4,000 spectators at The Ageas Bowl. Notably, nearly 1,500 people were allowed to attend the recent County Championship match between Hampshire and Leicestershire in Southampton. This has increased the chances of a crowd turnout in the WTC finale.
Rod Bransgrove, the head of Hampshire County Club, informed Cricbuzz about the development on Wednesday. "We're staging a four-day county game from today and for the first time since September 2019 fans were allowed for a cricket match in England. The other county games of this round will begin tomorrow and those games too will see crowds," stated Bransgrove.
Bransgrove also clarified that the ECB and ICC are permitting a crowd of around 4,000 people in the ICC WTC final. "I understand 50% of the permitted crowds will be taken by the ICC for its sponsors and other stake holders and we will be selling the rest 2000 tickets. We have already received more than double applications from the fans," said the administrator.
It is understood that the Hampshire County has also been asked to hand over all the Corporate Boxes at the Ageas Bowl. "Given the travel restrictions and quarantine protocols I am not sure how many of ICC and the Board of Control for Cricket in India members will come for the game. We will be happy to sell those tickets too," Bransgrove asserted.
The Kennington Oval (London) was the last ground in England to have the presence of spectators in an international game. It hosted the fifth Test of the 2019 Ashes series, which was won by hosts England.
Team India, which is currently undergoing quarantine in Mumbai for two weeks, will depart for the grueling UK tour on June 2. The Virat Kohli-led side will then serve another quarantine in Southampton (for 10 days), but could be allowed to train during the period. After playing the WTC final, they will compete with England in a five-match Test series.