London [UK], February 2 (ANI): New Zealand is set to play the finals of the inaugural World Test Championship (WTC) at the Lord's Cricket Ground as Australia's three-match Test tour of South Africa was postponed due to an 'unacceptable' coronavirus risk on Tuesday.
Australia was slated to lock horns with South Africa in the Test series later this month. The Tim Paine-led side's chances of qualifying for the WTC final in Lord's in June have taken a massive hit.
India now has 430 points while New Zealand, holding the second spot, has 420 points on the table. Sitting in the third position, Australia has 332 points.
Australia was docked four points for slow over-rate in the MCG test, if this reduction did not take place, Australia would be ahead of NZ on percentage. The team will now depend on other results for their spot in the finals.
India and England are the other sides in contention to make the WTC final. The Virat Kohli-led side will have to win at least two Tests against England without losing the other two matches. On the other hand, England needs to win at least win three Tests against India.
Last month, the final of the inaugural edition of the WTC was postponed. The final will now be played out from June 18 to 22 with June 23 acting as a reserve day. The decider was originally scheduled to be held from June 10 to 14 at the Lord's Cricket Ground.
ANI had reliably learned that it was done keeping in mind the proximity between the WTC final and the final of the 2021 edition of the Indian Premier League -- dates yet to be officially announced -- and any quarantine period that players might have to go through with an eye on the coronavirus pandemic. It is almost certain that India will be a part of the final.
Last year, the ICC had decided to change the point-rating system of WTC due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The WTC table has now been revised to rank teams based on the percentage of points earned from the series played, meaning teams are ranked in order of percentage of points earned.
Earlier in the day, Cricket Australia interim chief executive Nick Hockley said traveling from Australia to South Africa at this current time will have an unacceptable level of health and safety risk to the visiting players.
CA's interim chief executive Nick Hockley said traveling from Australia to South Africa at this current time will have an unacceptable level of health and safety risk to the visiting players.
"This decision has not been made lightly and we are extremely disappointed, especially given the importance of continuing international cricket at this time, our valued relationship with CSA, and our aspirations to compete in the inaugural ICC World Test Championship," Hockley added. (ANI)