- India take on New Zealand in the WTC 2021 final which will begin on Friday
- Both teams have several quality players who can make a difference in the game
- Top 3 players from both side who are worth looking out for
On the 18th of June 2021, the historic day for cricket will be carved as the first-ever World Test Championship final will take place where two of the world’s best Test sides, India and New Zealand, will pit against each other at the Ageas Bowl in Southampton.
Though the New Zealand side is coming from a fresh 1-0 win against hosts England in a two-Test series, the Indian team have been prepping up via regular training and an intra-squad training match at the match venue.
Both teams possess immense depth in their squads overall, having some high-profile specialist batters and bowlers in the lineup.
On one hand India boasts the likes of Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, Cheteshwar Pujara, Rishabh Pant and Jasprit Bumrah in their squad, New Zealand has an equally skilled squad which consists of skipper Kane Williamson, Neil Wagner, Tim Southee and Tom Latham.
Let us take a look at the top 3 players from both teams to watch out in the WTC Final:
Virat Kohli: The Indian skipper has shown a great record and in the tours of England his potential was defined by how the right-handed maestro learnt from each of his previous outings in the country. With the incentive of leading the nation to its maiden WTC win, Kohli can be expected to dictate terms if he gets a steady start at the beginning and his eye in.
The Indian captain had a sizzling time with his bat when he first toured England but redeemed himself when he went to England in the year 2018 where he outscored every player. Kohli has played 10 Test matches in England and has scored 727 runs at an average of 36.35. Out of these 727 runs, 593 came during India’s last tour to England in 2018 where they played 6 test matches against each other.
Rishabh Pant: Rishabh Pant is often called the successor of MS Dhoni and this explosive Indian wicketkeeper-batsman has been one of the most highly-rated players in world cricket for the past couple of years. The unorthodox batsmanship from Pant and his nature of taking the game to the opposition, regardless of the situation, can easily be the X-factor that India would need against a strong New Zealand attack.
The young wicketkeeper-batsman announced himself in Test cricket by smashing Adil Rashid for a six over long-on in his debut game. In England, the left-handed batsman has scored 162 runs in three Test matches. His highest score came at the Oval when he smashed 114 runs.
Jasprit Bumrah: Jasprit Bumrah needs no introduction, being one of the best fast bolwers in the world right now, the bowling attack involving Jasprit Bumrah gives an extra tooth to the Indian side. Adding it to the likes of Mohammed Shami, Bumrah can wreak havoc against any batting order in the world.
His peculiar action and the ability to make the ball skid off the surface makes it tough for a batsman to deal with. Bumrah has been India’s go-to bowler irrespective of the conditions. Bumrah has played three Test matches in England and has picked up 14 wickets which includes a five-wicket haul at Nottingham.
Bumrah was also the first Asian bowler to grab a five-wicket haul in Australia, South Africa, England and West Indies, all in his first tour to all these countries. Bumrah’s magical figure of 5/7 is also the cheapest five-for by any India bowler.
Kane Williamson: World’s 2nd best Test batsman is always a threat and will be equally dangerous as before despite returning from an elbow injury. Williamson has been in a tremendous form especially in the longest format of the sports with two double centuries in the summer of 2020-21 – 251 and 238 against the West Indies and Pakistan respectively.
He scored a total of three centuries across four innings to stamp his authority and will be a great threat for his oppositions.
However, the good news for India is that Williamson averages just 26.10 in England. Despite scoring a hundred at Lord’s, Williamson, in five Tests in the UK, has just 261 runs to his name.
Ross Taylor: Ross Taylor is among the most experienced members of the current New Zealand squad, and his forms is the backbone of the batting middle-order. His ability to change gears against spin as well as pace makes him a danger for the opposition and could give a hard time to the quality Indian spin of Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja.
The veteran batsman averages over 40 in England in Test cricket and with having nine Tests played in England and scoring 650 runs including an unbeaten knock of 154 that came in Manchester in 2008, he is a force to be reckoned with.
Trent Boult: Trent Boult missed the first Test against England in the series which just concluded, however, has showcased his class when he bowled brilliantly in the second to help his team claim the series against the hosts.
With his traditional left-arm inswingers casting doubts in the minds of the right-handed batsman, the Indian team will have to play the bowler with utmost care and give his deliveries the respect they deserve of could see themselves going back to the dressing room in no time.
Boult enjoys bowling in England and in his 5 test matches here has picked 27 wickets, which includes two five-wicket hauls.
He averages 22.40 in England with the ball.