India and NZ promise stiff Test in title clash
It has been a long and arduous journey for cricket, like all other sports and all walks of life, as the world struggled against a deadly virus and went silent almost everywhere, even as the titanic battle continued against the scrouge through this silence.
Cricket had also fallen silent and by the time the stumps were placed again on grounds across the globe, many things had changed, from how the players would stay in bio-bubbles to how the cricket ball was to be treated on the ground, and many other rules.
One critical rule to change was how success would be counted on the World Test Championship points tally, with percentages becoming factors instead of aggregate points. But India, with all the reverses, still had enough good work done before, and even during the continuing pandemic, to emerge on top and take on New Zealand, from Friday, 18 June, at The Ageas Bowl in Southampton, England.
While many players have said that this is ‘just another Test’ for them, the result will have far-reaching consequences on how Test cricket is played henceforth. For the two captains and teams involved, this is also a golden opportunity to carve their names in to history of cricket annals as the first winners of WTC. Virat Kohli has one feather missing from his cap. He predecessor MS Dhoni had set the mark by winning not just the first T20 World Cup, but also grabbed the 2011 ICC World Cup.
Similarly, Kane Williamson was there to see the World Cup snatched from his hands in the most incredible final that saw a script that couldn›t have been imagined. So, both will be eager to finally have a world tournament under their belt, In terms of skill, both sides are equally matched, though one could venture to say that New Zealand, with two matches against England under their belt, are more match-fit. No amount of practice games, as India had on their plans, match real-time matches.
Further, one could venture to think that the New Zealand would be more comfortable against swing bowling than the Indians. Conversely, the Indian spinners could be ahead, with Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja surely miles ahead. Eventually, taking 20 wickets is what will provide a result, so it may just depend on who bowls better. But it promises to be one mighty battle. (Agencies)