The ICC took the step in response to the threat posed by the ‘Just Stop Oil’ protesters, who have been disrupting major sports events in the UK.
‘Just Stop Oil’ is an environmental activist group founded in February 2022 which aims at making the British Government stop fossil fuel licensing and production.
Keeping the threat in mind to the Oval, security has been beefed up at the venue.
Both captains Rohit Sharma and Pat Cummins have been taken into confidence.
The ICC in fact has added a new clause – 6.4 – to the playing conditions, just in case the pitch is damaged in any way due to the protests that might or might not affect the WTC Final.
First of all, if there is a pitch invasion, the on-field umpires will determine if it is unsafe or unreasonable to continue playing on the match pitch, they will halt the game and immediately inform the ICC match referee under sub-section 6.4.1.
Under 6.4.4, if the decision is to not resume play, the on-field umpires will assess whether the existing pitch can be repaired and the match can resume from the point it was stopped in consultation with the ICC match referee. The ICC match referee must consider whether this repair would unfairly advantage either side or not, given the play that had already taken place on the ‘dangerous’ pitch.
Under 6.4.7- throughout the decision-making processes that are mentioned above, the ICC match referee will keep both captains and the head of the ground authority informed about the situation. The head of the ground authority will ensure appropriate public announcements are made timely.
The WTC final will begin at 3 pm IST from June 7. There is also a reserve day on June 12 in case of any substantial loss of playing time due to rain interruptions.
Australia captain Pat Cummins said he hopes ‘Just Stop Oil’ protesters will not disrupt the WTC final against India after his team’s bus was held up on the way to training.
Protesters stopped traffic near The Oval on Monday and had to be cleared by police before the Australian team could reach the venue for training.
England’s team bus was held up by the same protesters when heading to Lord’s ahead of the first day of their one-off Test against Ireland last week.
“It’s something we got in the security briefing a couple of days ago,” Cummins told reporters.
“I’ve heard that they’re aware of it and kind of keeping an eye out. But that’s as much as we’ve heard.
“So hopefully, it doesn’t happen, obviously. But yeah, I’ve heard there are a few different events that have been affected.”
‘Just Stop Oil’ protesters halted the World Snooker Championship and the English Premiership rugby final in recent months.
One protester climbed onto a table and scattered a bag of orange powder paint at the snooker tournament while protesters invaded the pitch 15 minutes into the rugby match at Twickenham between Saracens and Sale.
Cummins has long voiced concerns about the impact of climate change but did not throw his weight behind the demonstrations.
“My view is always that there are right ways to go about things and potentially not the right way to go about things,” he said.
“Whenever anyone’s got any beliefs, you just hope you take the right option.”
(With inputs from agencies)