The World Test Championship final between India and New Zealand will take place at the Ageas Bowl in Southampton, England, from June 18 to 22, the International Cricket Council (ICC) confirmed on Wednesday.
The ICC said that the decision was taken after 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 final was originally scheduled to be held on the same dates at the Lord’s Cricket Ground in London.
“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,” said the ICC.
The Ageas Bowl was the first stadium to host an international cricket match within a bio-bubble amid the Covid-19 pandemic when England hosted the West Indies in the first Test from July 8, 2020.
“We are confident that in selecting the Hampshire Bowl, we have given ourselves the best possible chance to successfully deliver the final whilst keeping everyone involved safe and healthy and giving fans the opportunity to watch the two best Test teams in the world go head-to-head for the right to call themselves the ICC World Test Champions,” said ICC General Manager George Allardice.
“We are delighted that the ICC has chosen to host the inaugural World Test Championship Final at the Hampshire Bowl.
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As the world’s first fully bio-secure cricket venue, it has shown itself capable of delivering international matches to the highest of standards, even against the backdrop of a global pandemic. I am sure the finale of the ICC World Test Championship will be a wonderful occasion,” said ECB CEO Tom Harrison.