All the stats, analysis and colour from the title bout of the inaugural World Test Championship
— BLACKCAPS (@BLACKCAPS) June 18, 2021
Southampton is a port city. They have live box cameras at the port terminal. Since early this morning India time, which is late night Southampton time, the stream has been taken over by cricket fans to see if it has stopped raining. We are not going to link to them because this is not a welcome presence on their feed. They have had to warn cricket fans they will be blocked if they keep asking them for weather updates or chat cricket in their live chat. Here is a picture of google search interest in “southampton weather” over the last month.
The host broadcaster in India streamed the Viat Kohli pre-match presser live. There were wraparound shows to analyse the press conference. Before India left for England about a month ago, there was a general throwaway off-the-record line before their departure press conference from Virat Kohli to Ravi Shastri – unaware that the camera was on – seemingly on how Siraj can be used against New Zealand, who were batting against England at the time of that press conference. Since then, fans on Twitter in India have done animated debates on who will make way for Siraj.
New Zealand rested at least three first-choice players in a live rubber in England – a Test series there being the holy grail for them – to have them fresh for the WTC final in Southampton.
It might not quite be the panacea for all the ills in cricket and Test cricket, but this mania round the final tells you the WTC has been a success despite its flaws. It helps that India are in the final, but the interest in New Zealand is not insignificant. This tournament is actually the best the ICC could have managed given all the selfish interests of the member boards and the commercial demands of the times.
Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo