WTC Final: India have more match winners than New Zealand

By Rohit - June 16, 2021    -    Last updated on Jun 17, 2021 01:34 AM WTC Final: India have more match winners than New Zealand

Sunil Gavaskar needs no introduction. With his 10,122 Test runs and 34 centuries apart, the Little Master was part of Indias 1983 World Cup-winning team and also led India to the Benson and Hedges ODI triumph in Australia two years later. The legend is currently in England ahead of Indias World Test Championship Final against New Zealand, where he will be doing television commentary.

Gavaskar has been following the New Zealand team as they prepared for the WTC Final with a two-Test series against England. He is quite certain that India, who are preparing in Southampton, will be up for the fight. The former opener, during an interaction with TOI, spoke about Indias chances and a lot more.

  • India will play the WTC Final in a few days time. Who according to you will be the favorites and why?

  • Its even-stevens in my view because both the teams are well balanced. There are some who think New Zealand has the advantage of being match-ready (after their 1-0 series win in England). But then India will be matched hungry and fresh and eager to get on the ground after a month of inaction. India has more impact players with both bat and ball and they should win this game.

  • Negotiating swing well is crucial and India struggled against New Zealand in New Zealand. Do you think the pace attack that New Zealand have can make life difficult for India?

  • India did have problems in New Zealand but unless the weather is wet and cold they should be able to counter the swing and movement in England.

  • Shubman-Gill and Rohit Sharma are both attacking players with a tendency to play away from the body. Do you think in English conditions it is better to open with at least one who has a more orthodox approach?

  • Who would you pick ahead of these two? At the moment, both are integral parts of the team and getting better with every match. So I am not worried at all.

  • New Zealand has played two Tests before the WTC Final. Will they be slightly better prepared than India?

  • This could be a double-edged sword. With only three days between the second Test (against England) and the WTC Final, some of their older players could have a niggle or two and that can hamper their performance.

  • How do you see the Kane Williamson-Virat Kohli duel shaping up?

  • There are always battles within a battle. So clearly the one between Kohli and Williamson, the top two batsmen in Test cricket on a batting level, will be as crucial as the one between Trent Boult and Rohit Sharma or a Neil Wagner versus and a Jasprit Bumrah versus Conway. Thats something to look forward to.

  • The Southampton track tends to help spinners if the game goes to the fourth day. Do you think that the two spinners, R Ashwin and can actually be the deciding factor in the Test?

  • Absolutely. Both will have crucial roles to play in the game. Whats been heartening to see is the massive improvement in their batting, which allows the Indian team to go in with at No. 6, then these two all-rounders and the quicks.

  • If there is one New Zealand bowler who needs to be treated with maximum respect by the Indians, who will it be and why?

  • New Zealand has a very good attack, so its hard to pick one, but it will be interesting to see how Wagner bowls on this pitch.

  • Do you think sharing the trophy in case of a draw is the right idea? Or should it have been a best-of-three final?

  • In Test matches there is a provision for a draw so yes, sharing a trophy is fine. Having a best-of-three-Test finals means teams will have to keep almost one month aside from their international calendar. Also does best of three mean three different venues? Then you could have different pitches and different conditions.

  • You have also been working with the Heart to Heart Foundation. Can you elaborate on your role in the project?

  • Yes, I have been blessed to be associated with the Heart to Heart Foundation (H2H) for some time now. H2H is involved in creating awareness of the issue of CHD (congenital heart defects) in children and raising funds that help Sai Sanjeevani Hospitals provide free surgeries to the kids.

  • New Zealand suddenly has a new star in opener who scored a debut double ton at Lords. Your thoughts?

  • I havent really seen him bat but anybody who gets a big double hundred is obviously a fine player. But the Indian attack has more variety than the English attack so it wont be easy for him. Having said that, I am looking forward to seeing how Conway tackles the Indian challenge.

  • The Southampton track tends to help spinners if the game goes to the fourth day. Do you think that the two spinners, R Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja, can actually be the deciding factor in the Test?

  • Absolutely. Both will have crucial roles to play in the game. Whats been heartening to see is the massive improvement in their batting, which allows the Indian team to go in with Rishabh Pant at No. 6, then these two all-rounders and the quicks.

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