Over the past few months, the ICC World Test Championship has generated an enormous amount of excitement and positive furore, with countless fans glued to their television, hoping for breath-taking action.
Consequently, a lot of interest has been garnered for a format that has often been looked down upon by fans lately, albeit strangely. Additionally, the advent of T20 cricket, coupled with the glitz and glamour it provides had led to several enthusiasts switching their format loyalty.
Thus, the inception of such a competition seems to be a boon for Test cricket, more so considering most teams are hell-bent upon establishing their supremacy in the inaugural edition.
However, for the above to provide the spectacle many are yearning, the ICC needs to ensure that an adequate balance is maintained between all those participating, whether it be the number of matches they play, the sides they play home and away or the pitches being provided.
Recently, after India drubbed South Africa 3-0 on the former’s home patch, Virat Kohli proposed a rather interesting idea, where he talked about each country having pre-decided venues so that visiting teams would be accorded the opportunity of planning better.
Inevitably, such an idea created a variety of opinions, with smaller centres in particular, voicing their discontent.
Yet, that hasn’t discouraged us from indulging in a bit of fantasy and chalking out five potential venues that India could favour, if the aforementioned vision was implemented.
Without further ado, here is a look at them.
Honourable Mention: Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium, Hyderabad
#5 Vidarbha Cricket Association Stadium, Nagpur
Over the years, the city of Nagpur has witnessed a few historic cricketing moments, including Chetan Sharma’s astonishing World Cup hat-trick against New Zealand in 1987, Sunil Gavaskar’s only ODI hundred in the same game and Sourav Ganguly’s farewell Test. Thus, the venue has rich past events to look back on.
More encouragingly though, the new VCA stadium has been akin to a fortress for the Indian side in the longest format. In 6 matches, Men in Blue have lost only once and that too came back in 2010, when Dale Steyn ripped through the hosts’ batting order.
Apart from that aberration, they’ve taken teams apart methodically, meaning that they’ve posted 4 victories and a solitary draw.
Additionally, the arena in Nagpur very rarely fails to attract a healthy crowd, regardless of the format. The cricketing circle in the city is quite ardent follower of the sport and invariably turns up, even when the side might be going through a trough.
Moreover, the pitch at the VCA Stadium is quite abrasive and conducive to spin, thereby playing into India’s hands. The likes of Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja can exploit the turn on offer whereas Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami and Umesh Yadav can use the rough surface to extract reverse swing.
Thus, if India were to opt for five specific venues for the ICC Test Championship, one reckons that Nagpur might not be too ludicrous an option.
Also see – World Test Championship Schedule