The countdown to the ICC World Test Championship (WTC) final has started. The inaugural one-off clash will be played between India and New Zealand from 18 June at Rose Bowl, Southampton in England. So, which team has the chance to win the trophy? Can Virat Kohli's men excel in the English condition like they did in Australia? Will Kane Williamson's team outshine the Men in Blue?
Many cricketers feel New Zealand has better chances of winning the match for the only reason is the Kiwis has better practice than India before the WTC final. The two-test match series against England gives them a good opportunity to adapt to the conditions and prepare well for the big match. Whereas India is taking the big stage without playing any match. Many of the players had their last matches in the Indian Premiere League, which was suspended mid-way to the spike in Covid-cases in the country.
Cricketers Who Think New Zealand is Favourite or has Advantage Over India
The former cricketer says that Virat Kohli might struggle if the conditions favour seam and swing. The conditions in Southampton are similar to that of Wellington and Christchurch, Glenn Turner said in an interview with The Telegraph.
Once again, conditions are going to be pivotal. I think it is true to say that the home conditions, where batsmen are brought up, play a significant part in the technique and skills of a player. Although it seems that in more recent times, pitches in India can assist seam bowling, they still can't be compared to conditions in New Zealand. This was exposed when India last toured New Zealand. English conditions are generally closer to those in New Zealand
Australian Cricketer Brett Lee
Brett Lee thinks both the team are well equipped in the batting department and the bowling department will decide the fate of the match.
"I am thinking though with the experience of New Zealand because they have bowled in conditions which are similar back home, you talk about the ball moving around, you talk about something in the wicket, there will be a bit of something, it may be conducive to fast bowling, to swing bowling. So that is where I think that the Kiwis might have an advantage purely from that fact,"
According to the former Indian cricketer Yuvaraj Singh, lack of practice for India puts them slightly in a disadvantage position. If it was a best of three matches, the Men in Blue would have been the favourites, he told Sports Tak.
"There are 8-10 practice sessions but there's no substitute for match-practice. It will be an even contest but New Zealand will have an edge. I do believe India is very strong because lately, we have been winning outside the country. I think our batting is stronger, in bowling they are at par,"
Former England captain Michael Vaughan has predicted New Zealand team to win the trophy. The English conditions and the Duke ball are expected to help Kane Williamson's men.
"New Zealand (will win). English conditions, the Duke ball, and India on the back of a busy schedule they'll arrive pretty much a week before and go straight into it, [and] New Zealand have two test matches, you could argue warmups against England to get them prepared for the final," Vaughan told Spark Sport.
Former Indian cricketer Aakash Chopra believes that the Men in Blue had struggled against the quality bowling attack of Kiwis during their last tour to New Zealand.
"We didn't defeat them now as well. The team which won in Australia had lost in New Zealand while it was almost a full-strength side. There could be problems in Southampton as well. I don't rule India out but it is 55-45 in favour of New Zealand," he said.
Former Indian allrounder Ajit Agarkar too feels the Duke ball and conditions will favour Black Caps more than India. Further, New Zealand's men a lot of variety in the bowling department.
"And then Wagner, when nothing is happening and everything seems flat he comes and does something and he has been doing it on a regular basis," said Ajit Agarkar.