The International Cricket Council is expecting a sell-out crowd for at least the first four days of the World Test Championship final between India and Australia at The Oval in London from June 7. The ICC has also kept a reserve day for the title clash if weather plays spoilsport. “We have been working very closely with the local organising committee (ECB) to ensure it is a great spectacle for the fans. We are expecting full crowds for each of at least the first four days. We know we are heading in the right direction.
“It has created huge interest in terms of fans, and two best teams in the world will be slugging it out, it is set be a fantastic event.
“We hope the weather stays clear so we can get the full amount of cricket, though we have a reserve day to make up for lost time,” said Wasim Khan, ICC general manager of cricket, in a select media interaction.
The final of the inaugural edition also involved India, who finished runners up to New Zealand in Southampton two years ago.
Asked why the game is being played in the UK for the second edition in a row, Wasim said the location goes well with the scheduling of the final. The Oval also serves as a neutral venue for both teams.
“The way the WTC cycle is set up, we are playing in the northern hemisphere summer. We look for diverse venues, currently as it stands within England. Lord’s was considered but decision was made on The Oval for this edition.
“In terms of the final every two years, the UK very much suits the set up of the tournament because it very much falls in line with the northern hemisphere,” he said.
‘The structure of WTC continue to work as it is’
Each teams plays six series in two year WTC cycle, three home and three away.
Wasim said the existing structure is working well for the five-day format’s showpiece event.
“It is something we are constantly looking at. For now, it continues to work as it is. We made small changes in terms of playing conditions, the soft signal is not there moving forward but the actual structure of the two-year cycle is constantly reviewed by the members.
“We take their feedback before progressing to the next year but the great news is WTC has been signed off for the next eight years at least,” he said referring to the competition’s secure future at least till 2031.
Wasim added that the improvement in quality of cricket has generated more interest in the longest form of the game.
“We have really moved on in this second edition. 69 matches and only 12 draws which tell us there is a huge amount of positive cricket being played and people are trying to get results because the end goal is to get to the final.
“We have seen England transform how Test cricket is being played and that bodes well for the future. I think overall quality of cricket is for all to see and we have got the best two teams now in the final.”
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