With no warm-up games scheduled ahead of the World Test Championship final against New Zealand, India are planning to take a large contingent to prepare for the final in Southampton. Both the teams will stay at the same on-site hotel of the Ageas Bowl just like the last English summer.
While New Zealand will take on England in two Test matches to kick-start the UK summer, Indian players will travel to England right after the Indian Premier League, meaning no substantial game-time ahead of the World Test Championship final. To get into the groove, the Indian players have planned to arrange a couple of Intra-Squad games, carrying a large contingent of players in order to make up for no warm-ups.
"As far as I know there are no practice games organized. I understand that they (India) are bringing in a lot of players to the hotel and they will be organizing their own practice games," Hampshire Cricket chairman Rod Bransgrove told Cricbuzz.
Southampton played a huge role in cricket's restart last summer, with their on-site hotel helping them create a bio-bubble, with the same set to be recreated for the mega final as well. Both India and New Zealand will be put up in the same hotel, albeit on different floors.
"Both teams will stay at the same hotel, albeit on different floors. We have 170 rooms in that hotel and accommodating the two teams is not a problem. We have not been awarded the final, we are going through the staging agreement," Bransgrove further said.
While the current UK government rules restrict spectators in sporting events, Hampshire Cricket is planning to accommodate a few spectators for the historic final with the hope that the rule would ease out by then.
"I don't know how many tickets we are going to sell but I know there will be some public. Technically at the moment, no crowds are allowed for any sporting contest in the UK but we are hoping this will change later in the summer. By the time we play the final, there will be some crowd, we don't know how many. What we do know is it will be a fantastic occasion and it will be a great cricket wicket to play on and everyone will be very well looked after," Bransgrove added.