With the inaugural World Test Championship (WTC) between India and New Zealand being less than a month away, cricket experts and fans have picked their favourites for the summit clash.
The WTC final, scheduled to be played from June 18 at the Ageas Bowl, will be a repeat of the 2019 World Cup semi-final where New Zealand had registered an 18-run win in a rain-marred encounter against India.
While the New Zealand side has already arrived in the UK ahead of their two-Test series against England, the Indian contingent is expected to arrive in the first week of June.
The Kiwi side have a chance to get accustomed to English conditions, but batting great Sunil Gavaskar has highlighted the ‘flip side’ of the coin. He feels the Kane Williamson-led side will be low on morale if they suffer defeat against England or suffer injuries before the WTC final.
“The pessimists are suggesting that playing two Tests before the WTC finals will be a huge plus for the Kiwis as they will be match ready and better acclimatized to the conditions,” Gavaskar wrote in his column in The Telegraph.
“The flip side of playing those two Tests is that New Zealand could get beaten and thus be low on morale when they take on India and there could be some injuries and niggles to some of their key players which can happen in early June in England,” pointed out the ex-India skipper.
Gavaskar further backed Indian players to step in ‘fresh’ on the field after a month’s gap. Since the postponement of IPL 2021 earlier this month, Indian players have been confined to their homes, away from game-time and net sessions.
“The other factor that will work in the Indian team’s favor is that they will be fresh and raring to go and that sheer energy and enthusiasm to be able to play the sport they love after a month’s gap will more than make up for any lack of match practice.
“This is a team that has tasted success and that too in adverse circumstances, so any adversity will be looked upon as an opportunity to show they have the gumption to rise above it and conquer it,” Gavaskar said.