Rose Bowl to host World Test Championship final between India and New Zealand

Hampshire venue has been selected due its onsite hotel after consideration over potential impact of Covid-19 on fixture

India's captain Virat Kohli bats in the nets during a training session ahead of their Cricket World Cup match against South Africa at Ageas Bowl in Southampton, England, Saturday, June 1, 2019. (AP Photo/Aijaz Rahi)

The ICC have confirmed the Rose Bowl in Southampton in the UK will stage the first World Test Championship final between India and New Zealand, with the possibility fans will be permitted to attend.

The decision was taken after consideration over the potential impact of Covid-19 on the fixture.

Sourav Ganguly, the head of the Indian board, was quoted on Tuesday as saying the ground had been selected due to its onsite hotel.

Much of the return to international cricket last summer was staged at the Rose Bowl, and the ICC said it had drawn 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,” the ICC statement read.

“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.

“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.”

Lord’s had initially been mooted as the likely venue for the final of the inaugural WTC.

“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, the ICC’s general manager of cricket, said.

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“A format that is rooted in tradition and features the best that the game has to offer. I would also like to congratulate both India and New Zealand for becoming part of history by reaching the first final.

“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.”

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