WTC Final: As the grand finale of the exerting World Test Championship is finally knocking on the door, the hype about the entire extravaganza is blowing through the roof. It is a rare find when the ageing Test cricket ever got such traction, but ICC managed to flip the tide by introducing this brilliant contest that spanned across the face of the planet over the course of the last two years.
A slugfest that seemed like an endless tailspin of the red-ball contest, pitting teams against each other over a gruesome span of five hellish days has now culminated into a blockbuster event that will happen at Rose Bowl in Southampton.
Now if the event is of such a magnificent stature, the build-up to the same will be of equal brilliance and ICC is leaving no stones unturned to ensure that it is lived to its fullest billing.
We will quickly take a look at six interesting conditions that precede the game and something that every fan must be accustomed to.
1. A draw means a draw in the WTC final
There has been a raging question about who shall be crowned as the winners in case of a tie. The answer to this has been simplified by ICC without any ambiguity at all. In case of a draw or tie, the crown will be shared. There will be no winner, given the fact that no tie-breaker has been concocted.
2. The concept of a reserve day
A reserve day has been kept for the contest to be prolonged in case if the rain Gods decided to intervene. Now, this reserve day will only come into the picture if the time that has been lost due to rain is equivalent to that of an entire day’s play that can be characterized by either 90 overs or 6 hours of cricket.
3. The match will be conducted using Grade 1 Dukes cricket balls
Ideally, Test cricket is played with three different kinds of balls that encompass Dukes, SG and Kookaburra. The line of demarcation between these glistening cherries is the stitching in them. Dukes and SG balls are made by complete hand-stitching while the Kookaburra balls are half hand-stitched and half machine-stitched. The hand-stitched seam makes it more prominent than the Kookaburra balls and lasts longer than the Kookaburra. The fact that the Duke balls are held intact by six rows of stitching that roves backward and forward across the joint keeping the seam intact and making it easier for the bowlers to hold. Now given the fact that conditions are overcast in England, Dukes balls are preferred a lot more given the durability of their seam and their ability to swing even after a good period of usage.
4. The third-umpire will straightaway come into action as soon as the on-field umpire makes a call of a ‘short-run’
It is mainly the call of the on-field umpire to decide whether a run was completed. In order to complete the run, the batsman will have to touch the other side of the crease line with an iota of his bat. However, in order to avert any kind of confusion and the thoughts of the fact that one has been deprived of a run, the decision will be taken by a third umpire after careful reviewing.
5. The clarification of stroke-playing
To make life a bit easier for the teams and make the contest a lot more intense, the batter or the fielding captain can actually ask the on-field umpire whether an attempt has been made to play the ball before reviewing an LBW decision.. Ideally, if the ball launches outside the off-stump, the batter may attempt to play a stroke that nullifies the chance of an LBW. However, if the ball is launched in the line of the stumps, if the batsman wills to let it go, he will be given out. ICC has ensured that the batter and the fielding captain can actually have their lives a bit easy by allowing them the freedom to ask the umpire whether a stroke has been played.
6. The height of the “wicket zone”
For the LBW reviews that will be brought into the contest, the height cap of the “wicket zone” has been elevated to the top of the stumps. Ideally, if half of the ball wouldn’t have hit the bails of the wicket, it used to be given a not-out. But the finale will witness extra precaution from the batters that would compel them to be wary about their knee-roll.
With all said and done, this contest will be a killing bout between two Test powerhouses of the world, especially with adverse weather conditions in WTC final.