The Ageas Bowl in Southampton, England, has been selected as the host venue for the inaugural ICC World Test Championship Final in 2021.
The final had originally been scheduled for Lord’s but has been switched to the Ageas Bowl after the venue successfully staged a series of Covid-secure matches in 2020.
The Ageas Bowl, which will be known as The Hampshire Bowl for the fixture, will host one of the biggest matches in world cricket this summer after the ICC today announced the venue as the first ever host of the competition’s showpiece fixture between India and New Zealand, beginning on Friday 18th June.
Following its launch in 2019, the ICC World Test Championship will reach a climax this summer as the two top teams go head-to-head in a five-day Test Match at The Ageas Bowl, competing to be crowned ICC World Test Champions.
India secured their place in the final following their series victory over England, finishing on top of the WTC ladder after picking up 520 points from their 17 fixtures. New Zealand earned qualification after winning seven of their 11 Tests to finish with a 70% win-rate from their five qualifying series.
Following hot-on-the-heels of a 2020 schedule which saw the home of Hampshire Cricket host nine international fixtures – with all matches played behind-closed-doors as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic – the venue will provide a secure and comfortable environment for all participants, officials and spectators.
Hampshire Cricket Chairman, Rod Bransgrove, said:
We are honoured and delighted that The Ageas Bowl has been appointed as the host venue for the inaugural ICC World Test Championship Final. I should like to sincerely thank the ICC for this huge demonstration of confidence in our capabilities and the ECB for its significant support of the venue as host of what will be the biggest Test Match event ever staged.
I am sure our immense pride at bringing this fixture to Hampshire will be shared by all our loyal staff, supporters and sponsors as well as our unwavering partners, Eastleigh Borough Council. We will do everything in our power to ensure that this inaugural ICC World Test Championship Final is a secure, entertaining and successful event for everyone.’
The ICC World Test Championship launched in August 2019, comprising of the top nine ranked teams on the MRF Tyres ICC Test Team Rankings, with teams competing in six series each across two years and points awarded based upon the result of each fixture. The competition, which was introduced to bring further context to bilateral Test cricket, honours the importance of the longest format of the game whilst ensuring a pinnacle event for the format.
This summer will also see The Ageas Bowl host a Vitality IT20 between England and Sri Lanka on Saturday 26th June.