World Test Championship final still on course for June 2021
ICC says this is despite the disruption caused to the qualifying process by the Covid-19 pandemic
New Delhi — The final of the inaugural World Test Championship (WTC) remains on course to be held in June 2021 despite the disruption caused to the qualifying process by the Covid-19 pandemic, cricket’s governing body said on Tuesday.
The pandemic played havoc with the game’s international calendar, prompting cancellation of a number of Test series and complicating the process of allocating WTC points from those matches.
“The planning is still in progress,” a spokesperson of the International Cricket Council (ICC) said of the WTC final, without elaborating how the point system would be reworked. “There is likely to be more clarity in the coming days once all stakeholders are aligned. There will be an announcement on this soon.”
This year’s Twenty20 World Cup in Australia had to be postponed because of the pandemic and the restrictions it prompted.
The ICC launched the WTC in 2019 to lend context to bilateral Test series, giving the format its stand-alone showpiece, like a World Cup in other formats. Originally, nine top-ranked sides were scheduled to play six series over two years with the top two making the final at Lord’s.
India currently tops the WTC points table, having played four series, followed by Australia who have played one fewer. England have played four, including a home series against West Indies and Pakistan in July-August, and are third.
England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) CEO Tom Harrison last week underlined the logistical challenge of hosting the WTC final. “We are talking about a Covid-19 environment, and when you put Covid-19 into a negotiation like this, it changes everything,” he said.
“If you are taking part in that fixture and you have potentially two neutral teams playing a world final in the UK, I’m pretty sure you’d want to know you are safe and protected when it comes to the health environment you are heading into.”
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