With the World Test Championship (WTC) final set to take place at the Kennington Oval, starting on Wendesday (June 7th), the International Cricket Council (ICC) has prepared two pitches at the venue. According to media reports, the apex body of the sport took this step as a backup plan for any unexpected circumstances.
The ICC's decision has come on the back of caution, driven by the ongoing oil protest and disruption in London. Moreover, it has also made some changes to the playing conditions, including the introduction of a new playing clause (6.4), addressing the unlikely scenario of any damage to the wicket before or during the clash. The teams have reportedly been informed about such a possibility and the additional security measures put in place.
The details of clause 6.4 (changing pitch) are:
6.4.1: The game stands stopped if the umpires determine that it is unreasonable or unsafe to continue playing and inform the match referee.
6.4.2: The on-field umpires and ICC Match referee will consult both captains.
6.4.3: The game will resume only if both captains agree to do so.
6.4.4: If it is decided not to resume play, the on-field umpires will determine whether the existing pitch can be restored and the match can resume from where it was halted in collaboration with the ICC match referee. Given the previous play on the risky field, the ICC match referee must determine whether this repair would unfairly benefit either team.
6.4.5: If it is determined that the old pitch cannot be fixed, the ICC match referee will work with the ICC to investigate possibilities for continuing the match on another pitch at the same location, as long as the ICC is satisfied that the new pitch fulfils the required Test standard.
6.4.6: If it is not possible to resume the match on another pitch at the same venue on any of the match's scheduled days (including the reserve day), the match stands abandoned.
6.4.7: Throughout the above-mentioned decision-making processes, the ICC match referee will keep both captains and the head of the ground authority informed. The head of the ground authority will ensure that public statements are issued in a timely and suitable manner.
Rohit Sharma keeps his cards closed on India's playing XI for WTC final:
Meanwhile, Indian captain Rohit Sharma has made no official announcement of the playing XI to take on Australia in the marquee fixture. However, he hinted that off-spinner Ravichandran, India's highest wicket-taker in the current WTC cycle, will play.
Australian captain Pat Cummins, on the other hand, confirmed that Scott Boland will play in place of the injured Josh Hazlewood. Boland, who made his Test debut in the 2021-22 Ashes, has 28 scalps in 7 Tests at 13.43 apiece.