The World Test Championship (WTC) final between Virat Kohli’s Team India and Kane Williamson’s New Zealand is slated to begin on June 18 in Southampton. Though still a little under three weeks away, the anticipation and the buzz surrounding the clash continue to grow.
One of the main aspects being discussed by experts and cricketers is how New Zealand could have an upper hand in the final as they will play two Tests against host nation England prior to the WTC final. India, on the other hand, will not have any match practice. On the other hand, there are some, like Sunil Gavaskar, who believe the series could prove to be counter-productive for the Black Caps if they either lose (and be low on morale) or lose players to injuries and niggles.
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Talking about the same, former Pakistan spinner Danish Kaneria stated that even though the Kiwis could hold an edge, the Indian team should not lose heart and draw inspiration from their triumph against Australia in the 2020/21 Border Gavaskar Trophy.
“See, New Zealand is going to play against England. India, before the World Test Championship, will not play any matches. They will practice and play the match (final). New Zealand will play matches there, they will get some practice. By the time India gets there, they would have already started everything.
“If you talk about the conditions, India need to remember that World Test Championship is a very big thing. There is no doubt that New Zealand is a very strong side, especially in such conditions where the ball swings,” Kaneria said while speaking in a video posted on his YouTube channel.
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He then added: “But I would want Ravi Shastri and the management to remind the team of their Australian tour in team meetings. Tell the boys that despite so many things happening to them, be it quarantine-related or injuries, they didn’t give up. You get positive vibes when you remember happy memories.”
Kaneria, who bagged 261 wickets in 61 Test matches for England, pointed out the strengths and weaknesses of both India and New Zealand.
“Team selection will be very important for India. New Zealand also faces the same problem where they have a few players who are in and out of form. Kane Williamson and Ross will be their main players in the match, who can score big. In the bowling department, they have Tim Southee and Trent Boult,” said Kaneria while speaking about New Zealand.
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While talking about India, he pointed out that few of the star players haven’t been scoring big and they need to fire.
“India has Virat Kohli, who has not scored 100 for a long time. Rohit Sharma has not scored big runs either. Ajinkya Rahane and Cheteshwar Pujara are coming in on the back of a struggle. So, we will see how India comebacks there. I feel India should go with two spinners,” concluded Kaneria.
The Indian cricket team is currently under quarantine at a hotel in Mumbai. After its completion, they will depart for the UK on June 2.