Cricket-Best-of-three WTC final not realistic, says ICC


FILE PHOTO: New Zealand's Kane Williamson talks to India's Virat Kohli after New Zealand beat India in a test match at Basin Reserve, Wellington, New Zealand, February 24, 2020. REUTERS/Martin Hunter

NEW DELHI (Reuters) - Deciding the World Test Championship (WTC) in a best-of-three final is not a realistic idea in a crowded calendar, the governing International Cricket Council (ICC) said on Monday.

India and New Zealand will contest a one-off match in Southampton on Friday for test cricket's biggest honour, along with the Test Championship Mace and a winners' cheque of $1.6 million.

India coach Ravi Shastri has said a best-of-three final would be an ideal way to determine the winner at the end of the WTC's two-year cycle.

ICC acting CEO Geoff Allardice said that would be possible only "in a perfect world".

"The reality of the international cricket schedule is that we're not going to have that month or so, blocking out a month or so for all the teams in the tournament for a final...," Allardice told a virtual news conference. "That's why (a) one-match final was decided upon."

The WTC was launched in 2019 to create a pinnacle event for five-day international cricket, following the successes of the T20 and 50-over world cups..

Australia and England were in the race before India and New Zealand pulled ahead to grab the top two spots in the WTC final.

"We were really pleased with the way it played out," Allardice said of the qualification process.

"It was obvious that the interest in certain series wasn't just restricted to the two teams involved, " he said. "It was coming from all over the cricketing world and I think to bring that sort of context to test cricket is a real step forward."

The ICC has approved concussion substitutes as well as COVID-19 replacement, which was introduced last year, for this year's final.

(Reporting by Amlan Chakraborty in New Delhi; editing by Timothy Heritage)

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