After two years of continuous battle between different teams, the World Test Championship (WTC) 2020-21 organised by the International Cricket Council (ICC) has reached its business end with India and New Zealand set to face each other in the final, starting from Friday (June 18) at Rose Bowl in Southampton.
Even on economic grounds, the WTC final has much more value than any other Test match. Recently, the ICC announced that the winners of the summit clash would get $ 1.6 million along with the ICC Test Championship Mace. Similarly, the runners-up will take home $ 800,000.
“The winners of the much-awaited ICC World Test Championship (WTC) Final between India and New Zealand will take home a purse of $ 1.6 million along with the ICC Test Championship Mace. The losing team will get $ 800,000 for finishing second in the nine-team competition, which was played over a near two-year cycle, adding context to Test cricket and to crown the first official world champions in the longest format of the game,” said ICC in an official release.
Both teams are ready to battle it out in the high-voltage clash, featuring top superstars like Virat Kohli, Kane Williamson, Jasprit Bumrah, Trent Boult and others.
Ahead of the grand finale, head groundsman at Southampton, Simon Lee, has given hints that he is looking to produce a pacy and bouncy pitch with some assistance for spinners later on in the game.
“We all want is a good pitch that offers an even contest between the teams. Pace just makes red-ball cricket exciting, and I want to produce a pitch where the cricket lovers have to watch every ball if they miss something. The pitches dry out very quickly, and it can help it spin as well,” Lee told ESPNcricinfo.
Head to Head record:
Matches played: 59 | India: 21 | New Zealand: 12 | Draw: 26 | Tied: 0
India have already announced a 15-member squad for the WTC final, where the trio of Wriddhiman Saha, Ravindra Jadeja, and Hanuma Vihari have made a comeback in the squad. They have fast-bowling options consisting of five seamers – Bumrah, Ishant Sharma, Mohammad Shami, Mohammed Siraj, and Umesh Yadav.
While Cheteshwar Pujara, Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane will be holding the middle-order, the opening pair consists of Rohit Sharma and Shubman Gill.
IND XI: Virat Kohli (c), Rohit Sharma, Shubman Gill, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane, Rishabh Pant (wk), Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin, Jasprit Bumrah, Ishant Sharma, Mohammed Shami.
Like their rivals, New Zealand also named their 15-man squad where Williamson, Tim Southee, Colin de Grandhomme, Kyle Jamieson, BJ Watling have returned after skipping the second and last Test against England at Edgbaston.
The Kiwis have picked Ajaz Patel over Mitchell Santner after Patel’s impressive show against England in the recently concluded two-match series which the visitors won 1-0.
NZ XI: Kane Williamson (c), Devon Conway, Tom Latham, Ross Taylor, Henry Nicholls, BJ Watling (wk), Kyle Jamieson, Tim Southee, Trent Boult, Ajaz Patel, Neil Wagner.