New Zealand Names Strong Team
The Black Caps have named a strong team for the Test Championship, which forced them to cut Mitchell Santner.
There was no space for the all-rounder, but he made way for Ajaz Patel, who should enjoy the conditions. He’s the only spinner in the team and the 32-year-old comes off a four-wicket haul.
“Ajaz bowled beautifully – in both innings he did the role we wanted him to do, and picked up a couple of key wickets,” coach Gary Stead told the NZ Herald.
“The conditions we face here in England are slightly different from a spin perspective to what we get in New Zealand. I think the wickets here deteriorate a little bit faster so the role of the spinner is probably a little bit more of an attacking option than what it is in New Zealand.
“We felt we needed to have what we thought was our best spinner in terms of the guy who can take wickets for us, and that’s why Ajaz got that nod.”
— BLACKCAPS (@BLACKCAPS) June 13, 2021
New Zealand also boasts the likes of Kane Williamson, Devon Conway and Ross Taylor. Williamson is one of the best batters in the world and he leads a strong lineup, which also consists of Henry Nicholls and all-rounder Colin de Grandhomme.
They have also named a strong bowling attack, which is needed to win. Standout pacers Trent Boult and Kyle Jamieson will come steaming in, as will Matt Henry and Tim Southee.
Neil Wagner is another premium bowler and, along with Patel, completes the stellar bowling lineup for the Black Caps.
India Could Struggle With Conditions
It’s no secret that India plays better cricket team in the subcontinent. The slower conditions suit their excellent spin bowling attack, but the hard and fast conditions in England could be a problem.
India has won just three of the last six tests against New Zealand and they have had to quarantine before entering the country, unlike New Zealand.
Ravi Ashwin has 48 wickets from just six tests against the Black Caps, but he has only 14 wickets in six tests in England, so his devastating spin attack could be negated by the conditions.
Bang Bang ft. India vs New Zealand 🔥🔥🔥
The Hunt Is On… 🦁🦁🦁#WTC21 #WTCFinal2021 #INDvNZ #WTCFinal #ViratKohli #TeamIndia #Cricket #KaneWilliamson #Telugu #India #WTCFinals #BCCI #RohitSharma pic.twitter.com/gx1diMFVcp
— Valar Morghulis (@SerDavos007) June 15, 2021
One bowler that enjoys playing in England is Jasprit Bumrah, who has a significantly lower test average outside of India.
It’s a similar story in the batting department with Rohit Sharma and Ajinkya Rahane struggling with their averages in England. They have a 29.26 and 17-run average, respectively, but that improves to over 50 in tests against New Zealand.
Indian legend Sunil Gavaskar believes India has more impactful players than the Kiwis.
“It’s even-stevens in my view because both the teams are well balanced,” he told Times of India. “There are some who think New Zealand have the advantage of being match ready. But India will be match 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.”
India vs New Zealand Pick
We are firmly in the camp of the Kiwis. They have not only had the benefit of beating England in the warm-up series, but they have had time to adjust to conditions.
India comes out of quarantine and we’re expecting them to be rusty. They also struggle mightily in England and the Kiwis have named one of their strongest lineups in recent history.
The -120 for the Black Caps is a terrific price and they could firm to around -180 before the coin toss on Friday morning.