Dubai: The World Test Championship (WTC) final between India and New Zealand will go ahead as planned in Southampton from June 18. This information was given by the ICC here. Cricket’s parent body assured that in spite Britain adding India to its travel ‘red list’ following a massive surge in COVID-19 caseload, it not thinking of rescheduling the WTC final.
India’s entry into the ‘red list’ effectively bans all travel from the country to the UK. It also makes a 10-day hotel quarantine compulsory for UK residents arriving back home.
However, the ICC expressed confidence in staging the WTC final in a bio-secure environment.
“The ECB and other members have demonstrated how we can stage international cricket safely in the middle of a pandemic. We are confident that we can continue to do that. The WTC final will go ahead as planned in June in the UK,” said the ICC in a statement late Monday night. “We are currently discussing with the UK Government the impact of countries being on the ‘red list’,” the ICC added.
A BCCI source said Tuesday that it’s difficult to say anything at this point in time. However, the BCCI is hoping that India will not be in the ‘red list’ by the time the team leave for UK in early June for the WTC final.
“We still don’t know how the situation will pan out in June. The travel related SOPs are always dynamic as per COVID situation. When India leave for UK at the start of June, it might be that the country is not in ‘red list’ which requires 10 days of hard quarantine. But, if it is needed, it would be done. The situation is too fluid right now,” the source said on conditions of anonymity.
Media reports in the UK said that in case it is required, the Rose Bowl in Southampton and it on-site hotel could be cleared for ‘red list’ arrivals. It will be done by reverting to the full bio-secure set up which saw it successfully stage international fixtures last season.
The Indian women’s cricket team is also scheduled to tour UK in June. After the WTC final the men’s team are to play five Tests in England starting August 4.
There is also concern about how the inclusion of India in the ‘red list’ will impact the England and New Zealand cricketers who are currently playing in the IPL. They will fly to the UK for the two-match Test series between the two countries that starts at the Lord’s on June 2.
The IPL will conclude May 30 with the summit clash scheduled in Ahmedabad.