The inaugural World Test Championship final is just around the corner and cricket fans all across the globe can’t wait for that first ball to be bowled at the Rose Bowl in Southampton on June 18. New Zealand are already getting some handy match practice in England, with Devon Conway being one of the lot who have shone in his Test debut by scoring a double hundred at Lord’s. On the other hand, the Indian team after completing an eight-day quarantine in Mumbai will now be undergoing a 14-day quarantine in Southampton.
The Indian team surely would be underprepared going into this all-important Test match but they surely have x-factor players in the squad who can help them make history. On the other hand, New Zealand too is a team filled with x-factor players. So let’s get right into knowing who these players are.
DEVON CONWAY (New Zealand)
Only seven players have previously scored a double ton on their Test debut and New Zealand’s Devon Conway has become the latest addition to this list. Being 29 years and 329 days at the start of the Test match, Conway became the oldest of the seven players on that list. He also became just the second opener to achieve this feat in the history of the game and the first one to do so on the hallowed turf at Lord’s. Conway has had a dream start to his international career and would certainly be a thorn in the side of India during the World Test Championship final.
RAVICHANDRAN ASHWIN (India)
By now the whole cricket world knows that R Ashwin’s relationship with left-handers is the perfect love story in Test cricket. The off spinner would be licking his lips looking at the prospects of bowling against this New Zealand batting line-up which consists of five left-handed batters in the starting XI. Southampton is traditionally known as a pitch that can offer some assistance to the spinners and Ashwin would love to exploit the conditions.
TRENT BOULT (New Zealand)
Black Caps’s premier left-arm swing bowler, Trent Boult is taking a deserved rest back in New Zealand for this series against England. This means that he’d be fresh and raring to go for the World Test Championship final against India in two weeks’ time. Boult has a wonderful record in England as he averages 23.14 with the ball and has scalped 21 wickets in just four Test matches. His record against India is also a concern for the Indian team. In nine matches against India, Boult has picked up 36 Indian wickets and was particularly devastating in the previous tour between the two countries. If he manages to run through the top order of the Indian batting, then that will surely give New Zealand the edge to win this final.
RISHABH PANT (India)
India’s man-in-form in Test cricket is Rishabh Pant. He has suddenly made himself the go-to man in crisis situations with his remarkable performances in the previous two tours. His wicket-keeping is also ever-improving and he looks like a much improved and mature cricketer. In his young Test career, Pant already has experience of playing in English conditions and finished that disappointing tour with a massive hundred at the Oval. He is the danger man as far as the Indian batting is concerned and expect New Zealand to come hard at him during this final.
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