The International Cricket Council (ICC) has named the Kia Oval as the new host of its 2023 World Test Championship (WTC) Final, with Lord’s now set to host the 2025 edition instead.
Today’s (Wednesday’s) announcement is a change of course for the ICC, which in July stated that the ‘Home of Cricket’ would stage both the 2023 and 2025 Finals. However, in recent weeks there have been reports that Lord’s was having issues meeting the ICC’s ‘clean sites’ requirements due to its pre-existing sponsorship agreements.
Fellow London venue the Kia Oval has now stepped in for next year’s Final, with the dates for both events to be confirmed in due course. ICC chief executive, Geoff Allardice, said: “We are delighted to be hosting next year’s ICC World Test Championship Final at The Oval which has such a rich legacy and an amazing atmosphere, which is ideal for such an important fixture on the calendar.
“Following that we will then take the 2025 Final to Lord’s which will provide a fitting backdrop to the ultimate Test.”
Steve Elworthy, CEO of Surrey County Cricket Club, added: “It’s a real honour that The Oval has been selected to host the final of the World Test Championship. To have the two best teams in the world playing here in south London will be a fantastic occasion. Next year promises to be a superb summer of cricket at The Oval and this match will be a brilliant part of it.”
COVID-19 saw Lord’s lose the right to stage the inaugural WTC Final. In March 2021, the ICC confirmed that the Ageas Bowl, home of Hampshire Cricket, would stage its inaugural WTC Final. The match, which saw New Zealand defeat India, took place from June 18-23 last year in a bio-secure bubble at the Southampton stadium.
In selecting the Ageas Bowl, the ICC said it drew on the ECB’s experience of delivering a full summer of bio-safe international cricket in 2020. Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) chief executive and secretary, Guy Lavender, said today: “It is fantastic news that the ICC has opted to host the next two finals in London, with both grounds providing fitting venues for the culmination of the championship.”