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World Test Championship 2021/23

Explained: Why India and Australia players are wearing black armbands at the WTC final | IND vs AUS

India players wore black armbands as a mark of respect for passengers who lost their lives in the rail accident in Odisha
by Wisden Staff 2 minute read

The India and Australia players are wearing black armbands for the World Test Championship Final at The Kia Oval in London – here’s why.

The WTC final, between India and Australia at the Kia Oval, began on June 7. It was announced just before the start of the game, when both teams lined up for their national anthems, that they will be wearing the black armbands to pay respects to the victims of the tragic train accident that occurred in the Indian state of Odisha a few days ago.

On June 2, 2023, three trains – two passenger trains and one goods train – collided in the Balasore district in Odisha, resulting in one of the worst accidents in Indian rail history.


Instead of the main line, the Shalimar-MGR Chennai Central Coromandel Express entered the passing loop close to the Bahanaga Bazar railway station. The train collided at full speed with a goods train. A total of 21 coaches derailed, with three of those colliding with the Bengaluru–Howrah Super Fast Express, running on the adjacent track.

Virat Kohli wearing the black armband while fielding at the WTC final

India’s Virat Kohli, wearing the black armband, looks at the score board during day 1 of the ICC World Test Championship cricket final match between Australia and India

Official figures state that 288 people died in the accident, and nearly a thousand people have been injured. It is estimated that the actual numbers might be higher than that.

India have won the toss and are fielding first in the game, something they rarely do in Test matches, and have gone in with Shardul Thakur ahead of R Ashwin.

Follow the live scorecard of the match here.

Here’s where to follow the match live across the world.

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