The ICC on Wednesday confirmed that the second edition of the World Test Championship (WTC) Final between the top two Test-playing nations will take place at The Oval from June 7 to 11, with June 12 as the designated reserve day. The South London venue has hosted over 100 Test matches in its rich history, and in June will welcome the top two Test sides in the ICC World Test Championship standings, which will compete for the ICC WTC Mace following two years of hard-fought competition.
The ICC WTC Final is the pinnacle event in the Test calendar and is a week-long celebration of the longest format of the game. This Ultimate Test is the culmination of two years of intense competition in the ICC WTC, spanning 61 Test matches over 24 series played to date.
While the two competing nations may not yet be known, there are a host of significant fixtures due to be played in the coming weeks to determine the finalists. Australia currently top the standings, with India in hot pursuit in second place, and both the teams go head-to-head across a four-Test series starting in Nagpur on Thursday. While six teams in total stand a chance of qualification, among the frontrunners to challenge the top two are Sri Lanka, who sit third in the standings and South Africa in fourth, who take on reigning WTC champions New Zealand and the West Indies respectively over two two-Test series during February and March.
On the potential of securing their place at the showpiece event, Australia skipper Pat Cummins said, ”The prospect of playing in the World Test Championship Final has been a big motivator for us over the last couple of years, more so now having missed out on over rates last time.
”To play at a neutral venue like The Oval adds another element for both sides who make the Final. It’s exciting and has been a goal of ours for a while now.
”We are confident we can secure a place while here in India after a really strong 12 months. The Final would be a great reward for the players and staff who have done so well.” India captain Rohit Sharma looks ahead to what could be a second successive WTC Final encounter.
”Leading Team India out onto the field of play at the World Test Championship Final would be special,” he said.
”We have grown and developed as a team during this competition and to be in with a chance of lifting the Mace at the Oval in June, we know we first need to overcome a tough Australia side.
”There have been so many dramatic moments in Test cricket lately, and there are undoubtedly more to come. I am excited by the prospect of booking our place at the Final and hopefully creating history later in the year.”