Bransgrove ‘honoured and delighted’ as Ageas Bowl is chosen to host World Test Championship final between India and New Zealand
Hampshire chairman Rod Bransgrove is ‘honoured and delighted’ that The Ageas Bowl has been chosen to host the inaugural ICC World Test Championship Final in June.
As reported yesterday, the West End venue will stage the showpiece event between India and New Zealand between June 18-22 - only the seventh Test match the ground has hosted in the 20 years it has been operational.
The plan had originally been to have the marquee match take place at Lord’s, but the ongoing shadow of the pandemic has necessitated a rethink.
Hampshire’s home ground was one of only two selected to host men’s international cricket last summer, along with Emirates Old Trafford, due to both venues having on-site hotel facilities.
The proven ability to create and maintain a fully bio-secure environment, with no daily travel to and from the ground, has ultimately counted more heavily than the historical value of playing at Lord’s.
It is currently uncertain as to whether supporters will be present to watch the match, but provisions are being made to cover that eventuality, with a registration process being opened for those interested.
Bransgrove, for whom the redevelopment of the ground has been a long-term passion project, said: “We are honoured and delighted that the Hampshire 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.
‘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.’
Tom Harrison, chief executive of the England and Wales Cricket Board, said of the stadium: “As the world’s first fully bio-secure cricket venue, it has shown itself capable of delivering international matches to the highest of standards, even against the backdrop of a global pandemic.
‘I am sure the finale of the ICC World Test Championship will be a wonderful occasion.’
A statement issued by the International Cricket Council read: ‘The venue provides world-class playing and training facilities, giving both teams the best possible environment in which to prepare, whilst the on-site accommodation will significantly reduce the risk around Covid-19 transmission and better protect the health and safety of everyone involved in delivering the final.’
The county fixtures, released last month, gave an inkling that The Ageas Bowl was being lined up to host the final.
Hampshire’s first seven games in the T20 Vitality Blast - from June 9-20 inclusive - are all away, leaving time to prepare The Ageas Bowl for the WTC final.
Hampshire’s first Blast game on home soil will be against Somerset on June 25 - three days after the WTC final is due to finish.
In a busy period for the groundstaff, England are taking on Sri Lanka on June 26 in a T20 international.