The official dates for the final of the ICC World Test Championship 2021-23 cycle to be played at The Oval later this year have been announced.
The final of the second edition of the ICC World Test Championship will be played at The Oval, London from 7 to 11 June with a reserve day in place (12 June). New Zealand had won the inaugural edition, defeating India by eight wickets in the 2021 final in Southampton.
Australia leads the nine-team points table for the ongoing cycle with a healthy points percentage of 75.56, followed by India at 58.93. The two teams are set to face off in a four-match Test series, beginning 9 February in Nagpur, and the eventual result will play a significant part in determining the eventual finalists.
“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,” said Australia captain Pat Cummins.
“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 skipper Rohit Sharma, who was an integral part of the Indian team in their runners-up finish in the inaugural cycle under Virat Kohli, said: “Leading Team India out onto the field of play at the World Test Championship Final would be special. 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.”
Sri Lanka (53.33%) and South Africa (48.72%) too, who take the third and fourth positions respectively, are in with a chance. Sri Lanka have two away Tests against New Zealand remaining in the ongoing cycle, while South Africa’s last assignment is the two-match home series against the West Indies.
“Sri Lanka still has a good chance of making it to the World Test Championship Final. We have done well to be among the top contenders, and if we can complete a good Test series on the upcoming New Zealand tour, our chances of making it to the Final will look like a greater possibility,” said Sri Lanka captain Dimuth Karunaratne.
“We are aware of the opportunity, as well as the challenges we will face in capturing this wonderful opportunity to play in the WTC Final. This competition is really good for red-ball cricket, as it ensures that every game is played at the highest level of intensity, and the teams, whether they qualify to play the Final or not, will compete to end the ongoing cycle well.”
South Africa skipper Dean Elgar said: “While we may have an outside chance of qualification for the World Test Championship Final, there’s no greater encouragement than the thought of playing for silverware in such a historic format at such a historic ground.
“We are hungry for success in this format and are focused on the challenge ahead with the West Indies Test series around the corner. With so much to play for, we would love to add some more drama to an already existing competition and qualify for the Final in June.”
Fans can now register their interest to be included in a priority ballot for tickets from Thursday 16th February by going here.
Remaining ICC World Test Championship Fixtures
India v Australia series
India v Australia (1st Test) – Nagpur, India, 9-13 February
India v Australia (2nd Test) – Delhi, India, 17-21 February
India v Australia (3rd Test) – Dharamsala, India, 1-5 March
India v Australia (4th Test) – Ahmedabad, India, 9-13 March
South Africa v West Indies series
South Africa v West Indies (1st Test) – Centurion, South Africa, 28 February-4 March
South Africa v West Indies (2nd Test) – Johannesburg, South Africa, 8-12 March
New Zealand v Sri Lanka series
New Zealand v Sri Lanka (1st Test) – Christchurch, New Zealand, 9-13 March
New Zealand v Sri Lanka (2nd Test) – Wellington, New Zealand, 17-21 March
Source – ICC