All eyes are set on the high-voltage clash between India and New Zealand for the World Test Championship (WTC) final, starting Friday (June 18) at the Rose Bowl in Southampton.
New Zealand are confident after defeating England in the two-match series 1-0 and would be looking to carry the same momentum when they enter the battlefield against the Virat Kohli-led side. The likes of Kane Williamson, Tim Southee, Kyle Jamieson, BJ Watling, who didn’t play the second Test, are fit and fine to tackle the Indian challenge.
On the other hand, India arrived in the United Kingdom (UK) as the number one Test side after registering epic victories against Australia and England earlier this year. Although New Zealand dethroned India from the top spot after their series-winning performance against England, but that doesn’t cease the supremacy factor of Kohli and Co. in the red-ball format.
But who will win the epic match and win the mouth-watering contest along with the ICC Test Championship Mace? Well, former cricketers and legends of the fascinating game have given their views on the red-hot topic.
Former Australia spinner Shane Warne reckoned that India would have a slight advantage over the Black Caps because of more match-winners.
“I have to lean towards India because I think they’ve just got a few more match-winners, but don’t ever underestimate New Zealand; they could easily win this,” said Warne as quoted by Metro.
Unlike Warne, ex-South Africa captain Graeme Smith backed Williamson’s men to shine purely because the match is happening in English conditions.
“Kane Williamson is very reserved, excellent player, really smart and strategic, whereas Virat Kohli brings the passion and leads from the front. They are two of the best batters in the world. I’m going to give the unpopular prediction and back New Zealand in English conditions to do well,” asserted Smith.
Sri Lanka legend Mahela Jayawardene opined that the most consistent and best bowling attack would excel in the match. He went with India but also mentioned that the Kiwis have a never-say-die attitude.
“It was a fierce battle to get to the final. I think the two teams who are the most consistent and have the best bowling attacks are there. I probably tip the Indian boys, but New Zealand have that never-say-die attitude,” expressed Jayawardene.
Former England all-rounder Ian Botham didn’t pick any specific winner but advised everyone to watch the contest as the best players of the current era will feature in this game.
“It’s a final you don’t want to miss because there’s going to be so much talent on that field. You’re going to see some great players. I’ll be watching it, and I recommend you all do as well because you’ll be seeing some of the best players in the world,” said Botham.