Southampton to host World Test Championship final between India and New Zealand: ICC

Initially, the final was supposed to be held at the Lord’s

India will take on New Zealand in the final of the inaugural World Test Championship in a bio-secure bubble at the Hampshire Bowl in Southampton from June 18-22, the game’s governing body ICC said on Wednesday.

Initially, the final was supposed to be held at the Lord’s but the ICC Board and the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) decided to change the venue to ensure that the fixture could be staged safely with the potential impact of COVID-19 minimised for all involved.

"In selecting the Hampshire Bowl, the ICC drew on ECB’s experience of delivering a full summer of bio-safe international cricket in 2020," ICC said in a statement.

"The venue provides world-class playing and training facilities, giving both teams the best possible environment in which to prepare." The governing body added "should the UK government’s phased easing of COVID-19 lockdown measures proceed as planned, it is anticipated that a limited number of fans will be allowed into the Hampshire Bowl to watch the final."

New Zealand were the first team to qualify for the final and they were joined by India following their 3-1 series win over England which concluded on Saturday.

"The ICC World Test Championship final is the pinnacle event in the Test calendar and is intended to be a week-long celebration of the oldest form of the game," Geoff Allardice, ICC General Manager, Cricket said.

"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."

ECB Chief Executive Officer Tom Harrison said: "We are delighted that the ICC has chosen to host the inaugural World Test Championship Final at The Hampshire Bowl.

"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."

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