WTC final: India, Aus wear black armbands to pay respect to Odisha train tragedy victims

London: India and Australia teams as well as match officials were seen wearing black armbands ahead of the start of the 2023 World Test Championship final at The Oval to pay respect to victims of the Odisha train tragedy, which happened earlier this month.

Before the national anthems, everyone at the ground offered a minute of silence in memory of the victims of the tragic train accident which happened near Bahanaga Bazar railway station in the Balasore district of Odisha.

Last Friday, 288 people died and more than 1000 were injured in a collision of three trains – two passengers and one goods, seen as one of the worst train disasters in India in nearly two decades.

“The team mourns the deaths and offers its deepest condolences to the families and friends of all those who tragically lost their lives,” said the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) in a statement.

Coming to the match, India won the toss and elected to bowl first against Australia in the 2023 World Test Championship final. Both captains Rohit and Pat Cummins will be playing their 50th Test match through the WTC final. The winner of the 2023 WTC final will become the first team to win all ICC titles in men’s international cricket.

After winning the toss, Rohit said India have picked Ravindra Jadeja as the sole spin option ahead of Ravichandran Ashwin, while going with four fast bowlers in Mohammed Shami, Mohammed Siraj, Umesh Yadav, and Shardul Thakur.

Ajinkya Rahane also returns to the Test team after last playing in the format in January 2022, with KS Bharat being the wicketkeeper-batter. For Australia, pacer Scott Boland is playing his first Test in England, with fellow quick Josh Hazlewood out due to injuries in his left achilles and side.

The Oval is hosting a Test match for the first time in June. The winners of the 2023 WTC Final will take home a purse of 1.6 million dollars while the losers will get 800,000 dollars.