The excitement amongst fans for the inaugural ICC World Test Championship (WTC) Final between India and New Zealand on Friday, June 18, was turned into a grim mood as first the first session was washed out due to rain. Then, the entire Day 1 was called off, without the toss, as the rain continues to pour down in parts.
However, there is a bit of cheerful news for the fans, at least for now. The forecast for Day 2, Saturday, June 19, is predicted to be better than it was on Day 1. At the time of the start of play, the weather is expected to be clear, but a couple of showers are expected during the afternoon.
So, while the cloud cover will remain for about half of the day – for about 45% – over The Ageas Bowl, play is nigh certain to happen, and the historic game will get underway.
Also, for the uninitiated, although the entire Day 1 has been lost due to persistent rain, the ICC had earlier decided to add an extra day – a Reserve Day – to the WTC Final. This means, that the game is still for 5 days, and if the rain gods allow, there is a possibility of a result.
What about the weather forecast for the upcoming days of the WTC final at The Ageas Bowl in Southampton?
Well, in Layman’s Terms, it’s not encouraging. The rain and the cloud cover will be regular, but unwelcome, passengers in this iconic event. For Days 3 and 4 rain and a heavy cloud cover of 95% is predicted. On Day 5, the weather forecast says that it will be ‘breezy in the morning’ and ‘mostly cloudy with a couple of showers’ during the day with the cloud hovering for about 76% of the day.
If this news may uplift you – no rain has been predicted on the Reserve Day (June 23), and the sun is likely to be out as well.
“The Reserve Day has been scheduled to ensure five full days of play, and it will only be used if lost playing time cannot be recovered through the normal provisions of making up lost time each day,” the ICC had said earlier in a statement.
India announce their XI:
While Kane Williamson will announce the Kiwi XI at the toss, Team India have named their XI which will take the field, whenever play begins, in the WTC Final.
India have named two spinners in Ravindra Jadeja and Ravichandran Ashwin – the former is a proper all-rounder and the latter is close to a complete one. Despite seam-friendly conditions expected in the Test, fielding coach R Sridhar believes this is the eleven which is their strongest. However, he doesn’t rule out a possibility for any tinkering cometh the toss.
“I was expecting this to be the first question. I think the XI which has been announced is the XI which takes the pitch and conditions out of the equation. I think it’s an XI which can play and perform on any given surface in any given weather conditions. So that is what I believe this XI is all about, which we will put in the park,” R Sridhar said.“But having that said, the toss is not yet over, so we will … if it needs to be taken, there will be a decision taken at the time of the toss.”
India Playing XI: Rohit Sharma, Shubman Gill, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli (c), Ajinkya Rahane, Rishabh Pant (wk), Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin, Ishant Sharma, Mohammed Shami, Jasprit Bumrah.