Southampton to host India-New Zealand WTC final in June

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(Reuters) - The final of the ICC World Test Championship between India and New Zealand will be held at the Ageas Bowl in Southampton in June, cricket's governing body (ICC) said on Wednesday.

The ICC initially had said the match would take place at Lord's but after discussions with the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB), they confirmed Southampton, which has an on-site hotel at the Ageas Bowl, would host the June 18-22 contest.

On-site accommodation will reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission and better protect the health and safety of everyone involved, the ICC said.

"We are confident that in selecting the Hampshire Bowl, we have given ourselves the best possible chance to successfully deliver the final," Geoff Allardice, ICC General Manager, Cricket said in a statement.

New Zealand were the first team to make the Test Championship final and they were joined by India following their series win over England.

Southampton hosted a test against West Indies last July, as well as two tests against Pakistan in August. Fifty-over games against Ireland and Twenty20 internationals against Australia were also held at the venue.

"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," ECB chief Tom Harrison said.

"I am sure the finale of the ICC World Test Championship will be a wonderful occasion."

The ICC are hopeful that a limited number of fans will be allowed to attend the final provided the UK government's phased easing of COVID-19 lockdown measures proceeds as planned.

(Reporting by Arvind Sriram in Bengaluru; Editing by Christian Radnedge)