Five hours after the scheduled time for the toss of the World Test Championship final, incessant rain forced the umpires to call off play on Day 1 in Southampton.
There had been regular showers for the past day, with more forecast over the next week and while India and New Zealand will not be too please with the news, there is one silver lining to those dark clouds hanging over the The Ageas Bowl - there is a provision for a sixth day to be used as ‘Reserve Day’ for situations just like this.
The ICC, in 2018, before the start of the current World Championship cycle, had decided on the ‘Playing Conditions’ for the final and a ‘Reserve Day’ was one of the provisions they had made.
It was also decided that if, even after utilising the Reserve Day, the match ends in a tie or a draw, then both teams will be named joint champions of the inaugural World Test Championship.
How Does Reserve Day Come Into Affect?
The Reserve Day, scheduled to be on 23 June, is to be utilised to make up for any lost time during the regular days of the World Test Championship Final. In this case, the entire first day, which saw not a single ball being bowled, which now means all of 23 June will now technically be the fifth day of play.
According to the WTC Final ‘Playing Conditions’, ‘the maximum duration for the Reserve Day shall be a minimum of 330 minutes (or 83 overs, whichever is the later), plus the last hour’.
India Can Still Change Playing XI
Although India already announced their playing XI for the World Test Championship (WTC) final on Thursday, the management can still make changes if it feels incessant rain has made the ground and pitch conditions unsuitable for the team named.
The team can be changed until its nomination at the toss. And since the toss for the WTC final is yet to take place, both teams can tweak their starting XIs if they decide to tweak their strategy following rains.
It will be interesting to see if India rest one of the two spinners - R Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja - and bring in a pace bowler taking into regard the windy and wet conditions at Southampton Bowl.
Rule 1.2.1 of the ‘Playing Conditions’ of WTC final states, "Each captain shall nominate 11 players plus a maximum of 4 substitute fielders in writing on the team sheet provided by ICC. Other than as set out in clauses 1.2.7 and 1.2.8, no player (member of the playing eleven) may be changed after the nomination without the consent of the opposing captain. Immediately prior to the toss, the ICC Match Referee or his nominee shall check with both team captains that the players nominated on the team sheets are correct."
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