WTC Final – What measures will be taken by the ICC to ensure players’ safety during the pandemic?

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The inaugural World Test Championship Final between India and New Zealand will begin on June 18 in Southampton. India topped the ICC World Test Championship standings with 72.2% points in six series. Meanwhile, the Blackcaps finished second with 70% points in five series. 

The Coronavirus pandemic forced the ICC to change the points table ranking system in the World Test Championship. Earlier, the teams were ranked on the basis of total points scored, but many series got canceled or postponed because of the travel restrictions. As a result, ICC had to change the rules midway and ranking the teams based on the percentage of points. 

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India, New Zealand, England and Australia were the top four teams in the race to the final. The Kiwis were the first to secure their place in the summit clash, and then India recorded series wins over England and Australia to finish at the helm of the standings. 

The COVID-19 pandemic has still not ended. The virus has affected many tournaments, but the ICC has decided to go ahead with the World Test Championship Final and the fans will get the live coverage of the cricket match and they can get the live score of the match that will be available during the game. Here is a list of measures the International Cricket Council will take during the WTC Final to ensure players’ safety. 

WTC Final moved from Lord’s to Southampton 

First and foremost, ICC moved the World Test Championship Final from London to Southampton. BCCI President Sourav Ganguly had revealed that the hotel is very close to the Ageas Bowl in Southampton. Thus, to ensure minimum travel and there is live cricket score without any interruptions, the authorities changed the venue for the game. 

COVID-19 replacements 

The fans would have seen concussion replacements in Test cricket. However, in 2020, ICC made a change to its rules and introduced a COVID-19 replacement. 

Under this rule, the teams can replace a player in case he develops COVID-19 symptoms during a game. The Match Referee will have the authority to approve a like-for-like replacement. The player who comes in as the replacement will contribute to the live cricket score the same way as a player who is in the playing XI.  

Hard Quarantine 

To ensure there is no chance of canceling the ICC World Test Championship Final because of COVID-19, the Indian players will undergo hard quarantine in Mumbai and Southampton. First, the squad will quarantine for two weeks at a hotel in Mumbai. 

Notably, before leaving for Mumbai, the players will have to return negative in three COVID tests at their home. After the quarantine in Mumbai, the squad will head to the United Kingdom, where they will have to quarantine for ten days. Again, they will have to return negative in three RT/PCR tests before flying to the UK. 

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These rules will ensure that there are no positive COVID cases in the Indian squad and there is live cricket score during the WTC Final. 

Ban on applying saliva on the ball 

Another popular rule change that has happened after the COVID-19 pandemic is the saliva ban. The saliva helps the bowling team to shine the ball that allows the bowlers to swing it. 

However, because of Coronavirus, the players can no longer use saliva to shine the ball. They have permission to use their sweat, but if they apply saliva, the umpires can even give them a 5-run penalty and it will impact the live cricket score. By mistake, if any player shines the ball with saliva or the ball goes in the crowd, the officials will have to sanitize the ball before resuming play. 

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