WTC Final : India vs New Zealand

WTC finaL 2021

With eyes on the prize, Virat Kohli-led Team India may be asked to undergo only a three-day hard quarantine before being allowed to practice in a bio-secure environment during isolation ahead of the World Test Championship 2021 final against New Zealand in Southampton. The inaugural edition of the ICC WTC final will start from June 18. The last time India faced off against NZ in the longest format, Kohli’s men had suffered a 2-0 series defeat.

The roadmap could be similar to what New Zealand is following on arrival in England for their Test tour that comprises a two-Test series against host from June 2 as well as the WTC final against India from June 18. Apart from the WTC final, India play five Test matches against England in August-September. India depart from Mumbai on June 2 and will undergo, on arrival in England, a 10-day isolation period, details of which are not yet clear since there has been no official intimation from the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI). However, it is understood that discussions between BCCI and England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) have been going on and since most India players are already in bio-secure bubble in Mumbai with others joining over the next couple of days, the quarantine wouldn’t be a hard one for all 10 days despite India being in the red list of UK government due to rising number of Covid-19 cases.

New Zealand were asked to undergo a mandatory three-day hard quarantine before being allowed to practice in groups of six. They had arrived on Monday and Tuesday in batches. “The first three days will be spent in hotel room isolation, before mini-training groups of six can be established from days 4-6, pending negative covid results,” New Zealand Cricket had said on arrival. While New Zealand, who are camping in Southampton now, will move to London at the end of this month for the Test series against England, India will move in from June 2.

The International Cricket Council (ICC) issues percentage of available tickets through a ballot process that closed on May 13. According to this process, a handful of lucky fans gets tickets in their hands while the rest of the tickets and packages are sold by official ticket & travel agents of the apex cricketing council. As per an InsideSport report, the exhilaration for the WTC final 2021 has skyrocketed so much that WTC Finals ticket price has gone up to as much as INR 2 lakh.

Initially, the Final was to be held at Lord’s. However, on 10 March 2021 Southampton was confirmed as the venue for the Final, because Southampton’s on-site hotels made the venue suitable to establish a bubble environment, as England had already used for their international fixtures in 2020.The move had already been revealed on 8 March 2021 by BCCI President, Sourav Ganguly. Around 4000 cricket fans to be allowed in the WTC final.

India are set to lock horns with New Zealand in the maiden World Test Championship final. The WTC Final date is from June 18-22 at The Ageas Bowl in Southampton. Notably, a Reserve Day (June 23) has been set to ensure five full days of play. The Reserve Day will only be used if lost playing time cannot be recovered through the normal provisions of making up lost time each day. However, there will be no additional day’s play if a positive result is not achieved after five full days of play and the match will be declared a draw in such a scenario.

As the Indian 20-member squad already consists of 6 pacers and in the standby players, 3 players, including Krishna, are pace bowlers. In such a scenario, it is highly unlikely of BCCI to carry any additional player to the UK for the WTC Final and the bilateral five-match series against England.

On 2 February 2021, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Australia postponed their away series against South Africa, resulting in a guaranteed berth in the final for New Zealand.On 6 March 2021, India also confirmed their berth for the final, after beating England by 3–1 in a home Test series.Australia missed out on a place in the final due to a points deduction for a slow over rate.

It featured nine of the twelve Test playing nations, each of whom was scheduled to play a Test series against six of the other eight teams. Each series consisted of between two and five matches, so although all teams were to play six series (three at home and three away), they were not scheduled to play the same number of Tests. Each team were able to score a maximum of 120 points from each series and the two teams with the most points at the end of the league stage would contest the final.In the case of a draw or a tie in the final, the two teams playing the final would be declared joint champions.However, the COVID-19 pandemic impacted on the Championship, with several rounds of matches being postponed or cancelled. In November 2020, the ICC announced that the finalists would be decided by percentage of points earned.

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