Southampton to host WTC final: BCCI chief

LONDON: The city of Southampton will host the final of the inaugural World Test Championship (WTC) which was originally scheduled at Lord’s stadium.

This was stated by Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) president Sourav Ganguly. India will face New Zealand in the final following their 3-1 home series victory against England last week.

The governing International Cricket Council (ICC), which initially had said the match would take place at Lord’s, did not mention the venue while confirming the finalists on Saturday.

It would make an announcement about the venue in due course, an ICC spokesman told Reuters, but Ganguly said Southampton, which has an on-site hotel at the Ageas Bowl, would host the June 18-22 contest.

“It has been decided a long time ago. They have the hotel, which makes it easier for them to control (the bio-secure environment),” Ganguly told Indian media.

Southampton and Manchester, which also has a hotel at Old Trafford, hosted matches against West Indies, Pakistan, Ireland and Australia last year when international cricket resumed after being disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

New Zealand will play a two-test series in England in June before taking on India. The WTC final is scheduled to take place between June 18-22 in England.

The WTC was devised by the ICC in order to make Test cricket more appealing by providing context to every series played.. The top nine teams would each contest a total of six bilateral series, three at home and three away, with a maximum of 720 points overall at stake.

The original plan was disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted that plan and caused many series to be postponed or cancelled, forcing the ICC to devise a new system where teams would be ranked “in order of percentage of points” earned.