World Test Championship: ICC has not learnt from the 2019 World Cup washout

The World Test Championship final was supposed to be the ‘Daddy’ of all finals and everyone around the world — including the two teams and their fans — were looking forward to a high-profile contest between India and New Zealand.

This WTC journey began in 2019 but could not be finished in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic and, hence, it was stretched to 2021 and in March England was chosen as the host, with Southampton’s Ageas Bowl the venue. At that time, Geoff Allardice, ICC General Manager, Cricket said: “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. 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.”

Everyone knows how fickle the weather is in England, even in the summer, and in spite of four full games being wiped out in the 2019 World Cup, the ICC still decided to make England the venue for the inaugural WTC final.

I know rain is in no one’s control for sure and can happen anywhere, but the subtle nature of England’s climate is well documented and is often the butt of jokes. After what happened in the 2019 World Cup, the ICC could and should have learnt a lesson and opted for another host with more stable conditions — especially for such a landmark occasion, as this would set the platform for the future Test Championship and show the world how this event could shape the future of the game.

We have just seen the fourth day of the WTC final washed out completely — just like the first day — and only 142 overs have been bowled in four days of ‘action’. It’s a shame that in spite of adding an extra day which was kept in mind considering the fickle English weather. With only two days (including the extra day) left, it looks very unlikely that we will get a result in this game unless something drastic happens, meaning the competition will peter out as a literal damp squib.

Not only will the fans be disappointed but also it is a big loss for all the broadcasters around the world, who are showcasing this high-profile Test match.

There is a common saying “once bitten, twice shy” but it’s a pity ICC has not learnt after the trolls they faced after the 2019 World Cup’s four washed out games and ICC persisted with keeping the WTC final in England where in spite of having six days, we might not have even one innings completed.

It has been a complete waste of the two years put in by all the competing teams and the two fitting finalist and sadly we may see the trophy shared rather than have a worthy winner. All because of the weather ...

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