NEW DELHI (Reuters) - The final of the inaugural World Test Championship (WTC) remains on course to be held in June next year despite the disruption caused to the qualifying process by the COVID-19 pandemic, cricket’s governing body told Reuters on Tuesday.
The pandemic played havoc with the game’s international calendar, prompting cancellation of a number of test series and complicating the process of allocating WTC points from those matches in the process.
“The planning is still in progress,” a spokesman of the International Cricket Council (ICC) said of the WTC final, without elaborating how the point system would be reworked.
“There is likely to be more clarity in the coming days once all stakeholders are aligned. There will be an announcement on this soon.”
This year’s Twenty20 World Cup in Australia had to be postponed because of the pandemic and the restrictions it forced.
The ICC launched the WTC last year to lend context to bilateral test series, giving the format its standalone showpiece like the World Cup in other formats.
Originally, nine top-ranked sides were scheduled to play six series over two years with the top two making the final at Lord’s.
India currently top the WTC points table, having played four series, followed by Australia who have played one fewer.
England have played four, including home series against West Indies and Pakistan in July-August, and are third.
England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) chief executive Tom Harrison last week underlined the logistical challenge of hosting the WTC final.
“We are talking about a COVID environment, and when you put COVID into a negotiation like this, it changes everything,” he said.
“If you are taking part in that fixture and you have potentially two neutral teams playing a world final in the UK, I’m pretty sure you’d want to know you are safe and protected when it comes to the health environment you are heading into.”
Reporting by Amlan Chakraborty in New Delhi; editing by Christian Radnedge
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