The International Cricket Council (ICC) are reportedly planning to move the highly-anticipated World Test Championship (WTC) final out of the Lord’s Cricket Ground due to COVID-19-related challenges.

The “Home of Cricket” was set to hold the summit clash when the World Test Championship was inaugurated, two years ago. However, due to the challenges possessed by COVID-19, the ICC are looking for better options.

As per a report in the Times of India (TOI), the ICC are currently in conversation with the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) and relevant medical experts to finalize an alternative venue.

“The venue [for the World Test Championship Final] will be announced soon. Lord’s is not the venue the ICC is planning for,” a source, close to the developments, told TOI.

“ICC will be advised by the England and Wales Cricket Board and its own medical health professionals to decide on the venue for the final. There could be a case of creating a similar bio-secure bubble as the ECB had for the last home summer.”

The reports also state that Southampton’s Ageas Bowl has emerged as the front-runner to host the final. Old Trafford in Manchester and Edgbaston in Birmingham are also in the fray.

But, with a five-star hotel attached to the Ageas Bowl Stadium, Southampton has an edge over the Lord’s in logistical convenience to prepare for bio-secure bubbles.

The venue was also one of the two hosts for England’s Test series against West Indies and Pakistan last summer. The WTC final will be held between June 18 and 22, with June 23 being kept as a reserve day.

After beating England 3-1 in the recently-concluded series, India will lock horns with New Zealand in the marquee fixture. The last time both sides met in the competition, New Zealand defeated India 2-0.

After defeating England on Saturday, India also overtook New Zealand at the top of the ICC Test team rankings.

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