The final of the World Test Championship is currently the talk of the two. Two evenly-matched sides are competing in the final of this ICC event with the inaugural WTC title on the line. It doesn’t get bigger than this. Former cricketers are coming up with predictions already. The great Rahul Dravid feels this is India’s biggest chance to win a Test series in England, whereas former spinner Monty Panesar has backed Virat Kohli’s team to inflict a 5-0 sweep. Bold.
This brings us to another former India all-rounder, Vijay Bharadwaj who played three Tests and 10 ODIs for India in the late 1990s. The former Karnataka batsman believes that even though the Indian team is well poised there just might be a factor that may worry Kohli and his team. Bharadwaj reckons India’s ‘fragile middle order’ could be a concern because of which the onus will be more on the top-order batsmen.
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“One thing worrying is the inexperience of Gill in Tests and the inexperience of playing Tests in England for Rohit. For New Zealand to have the edge, they need to get Pujara and Kohli early into the crease. India will need a good start from Rohit and Gill. If the openers are fragile, the middle-order also looks fragile. That is the test Rohit has to pass,” Bharadwaj told SportsKeeda.
New Zealand would have the edge over India as they would have already played a couple of Tests against England prior to the WTC final. Hence, they would be more acclimatised to the conditions there. Bharadwaj believes India should try and get adapted to the conditions as much as possible, and gave a wonderful example of a batsmen who did it with his razor-sharp focus.
“The team has to straightaway get into the match mould. It is not easy for batsmen to get set and then carry on. When you get set, it is important that you score a century. Rahul Dravid was able to do that with the kind of focus that he had. Rohit and Gill should not think that by scoring 40 or 50, their job is done. That said, the fragile batting order is a worrying factor,” said the former all-rounder.