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London, June 1 – Members of Australia’s men’s cricket team have started their preparations for the upcoming World Test Championships (WTF) final and the Ashes series against England at their United Kingdom-based training centre in South London.
As the Australians step up their preparations for their first challenge of facing India in the WTC final at The Oval from June 7, Pat Cummins’ side will be going all-out in the chase of their maiden World Test Championship title.
However, the team management is also keeping a wary eye on The Oval ground where they have a poor record at The Oval where they will start their summer campaign. They would have liked to have started their campaign at the Lord’s rather than The Oval.
“But given the evidence tendered by more than 140 years of Test cricket in the United Kingdom, they might have fancied their chances of taking the title even more if the showpiece was staged at Lord’s rather than The Oval,” cricket.com.au reported on Thursday.
From 39 matches at Lord’s since 1884, Australia have 17 wins for a success rate of 43.59 per cent. By contrast, Australia’s record at The Oval – where the rivalry that became the Ashes was spawned in 1880 – is markedly worse, with just seven wins from 38 starts (18.42 per cent).
When the World Test Championship was first planned in 2010, the final of the four-year competition was planned to be held at the Lord’s. As the event could eventually start only after a gap of a decade, Lord’s has not hosted the WTC final due to commercial realities.
But the global Covid-19 pandemic scuppered that plan, with the final instead held at Southampton’s Rose Bowl where on-site accommodation ensured competing teams New Zealand and India could maintain a level of bio-security isolation, the report said.
When venues for the 2023 final were discussed last year, it emerged that financial considerations – in particular, the ICC’s stipulation for a ‘clean’ stadium free from existing membership requirements and adorned in its own sponsors’ livery – meant Lord’s faced potential commercial conflicts. And so the event was awarded to The Oval, the report said.
So, while hosts England will take on Ireland in a one-off Test at Lord’s starting on Thursday, their Ashes rivals will face the challenge posed by India at The Oval and prepare for that with a first full training session of their UK sojourn on county club Kent’s quaintly bucolic out-ground at Beckenham, 20km from central London.
Meanwhile, the remaining players of the Indian squad, who were involved in the IPL Playoffs, have reached London and will also be starting their preparations for the WTC Final.