SunstarTV Bureau: The final of the ICC World Test Championship between India and New Zealand will be played in a bio-secure bubble at the Hampshire Bowl in Southampton.
The final of the World Test Championship (WTC) will be played at the Ageas Bowl – or Hampshire Bowl — in Southampton, and not Lord’s in London as originally planned, the International Cricket Council (ICC) confirmed on Wednesday. The final, to be played between table-toppers India and New Zealand, has been moved 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 minimised for all involved,” the statement further read.
Southampton hosted a majority of England’s games in 2020, and 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.
A limited number of fans will be allowed for the WTC final if the UK government’s phased easing of COVID-19 lockdown measures proceed as planned, the ICC added