The World Test Championship (WTC) final between India and New Zealand has entered the fifth day without the first two innings getting completed. With just a reserve day to come on Wednesday, it looks likely the match, hampered by a washout on two days and bad light on the other two days as well as rain delay at the start of the fifth day, will end in a draw leading to the trophy being shared.
The drawn result and a shared trophy may be harsh on India whose run to the WTC final has included more series wins in away conditions than New Zealand, who have not won a single series abroad but all at home.
India have won two of their three away series -- incidentally their 2-0 away series loss was in New Zealand in 2020. The Kiwis, on the other hand, drew one away series in Sri Lanka and suffered a 3-0 crushing loss in Australia, a country where India won 2-1 only a few months ago.
Asked if the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) or other boards should have been proactive in scheduling of the final, former board president Shivlal Yadav told IANS, "This was planned beforehand by the International Cricket Council (ICC). You have the Covid-19 pandemic also that has made scheduling or rescheduling tough. But what I would have loved to see would have been a best-of-three final which the BCCI, maybe, could have argued for. But then where is the time? You also have the IPL which the BCCI wants to host."
Former India cricketer Yadav's suggestion of having best-of-three finals was initially mooted by India coach Ravi Shastri, who had, in his pre-departure media interaction, mentioned that option as a preferable one.
Former BCCI vice-president Niranjan Shah, however, refused to blame the administrators at the ICC or BCCI for not putting in a protest or suggestion, saying, "A draw is also a result. You cannot help it when it comes to weather. I would say draw is also a result and I don't think sharing a trophy is bad. Both teams deserve to be winners."
Though the former administrators' views appear more sympathetic, ex-cricketers have blamed the ICC for not deciding a winner in case of a draw.
Former India captain Sunil Gavaskar made his displeasure known, saying that, going forward, the ICC should find a formula to pick a winner.
"There must be a formula to pick the winner in case of a drawn World Test Championship final. ICC's cricket committee should think and then take a decision," he told a TV new channel.
"It seems that the WTC final will end up as a draw and the trophy will be shared," he added.
Other former cricketers such as VVS Laxman, Kevin Pietersen and Shane Bond have already expressed their disappointment over the loss of play in the final that is to decide the best team in the world.
Here is a look at where India score over New Zealand in the league phase and may have lifted the trophy even in case of a draw:
1) They have a win percentage of 70.6, having won 12 of the 17 Tests they have played. New Zealand have a win percentage of 63.6, having won 7 of the 11 matches they have played.
2) India have won two of the three overseas series they have played, beating Australia in Australia and West Indies in West Indies. Their only loss, though, came in the series in New Zealand. The Kiwis though have failed to win even one of their two overseas series. They drew in Sri Lanka but were blanked in Australia.