The World Test Championship (WTC) final is scheduled to be played from June 18 between India and New Zealand at the Rose Bowl in Southampton. It would be a one-off Test to decide the final winners of the two and a half years WTC cycle.
While New Zealand recently toppled India to occupy the numero-uno spot in the International Cricket Council (ICC) Test Rankings with 123 points, India are positioned just a position below them.
The playing conditions for the WTC final state that a reserve day has been added to the five-day game to nullify any considerable loss in time or substantial impairment of overs.
Yet, the reserve day won’t be used to get a decisive result in case of a draw.
Moreover, the WTC finalists qualified for the grand event after toiling hard for two and a half years. Some experts opine that New Zealand might have an advantage in marquee event since they have played a two-match Test series against England before the final and adjusted well to the conditions.
Taking cognizance of the same, the Indian cricket fraternity, including head coach Ravi Shastri, former Indian all-rounder Yuvraj Singh and off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin, suggested that the WTC final should have been a three-game red-ball series. This would have helped in deciding a clear winner and not sharing the trophy between the two sides in case of a tie.
However, ICC acting chief executive Geoff Allardice disagreed with experts and argued that the culmination of the event with just one cherry contest between the two contenders for the silverware “is quite exciting.”
Allardice further added that blocking out a month for the finale and stopping other nations from their tours would have been quite a task taking into account the packed schedule at the international and domestic levels.
“The reality of the international cricket schedule is that we’re not going to have that month or so, blocking out a month or so for all the teams in the tournament for a final. That’s why (a) one-match final was decided upon,” Allardice said in a virtual news conference.
Meanwhile, India are currently in England participating in an intra-squad match to get accustomed to the conditions and give a tough competition to the Blackcaps in the final.