Former Indian fast bowler, Ajit Agarkar reckons that New Zealand couldn’t be considered as underdogs in the big ICC tournaments as they have proved themselves in the recent past with some brilliant performances in mega-events. New Zealand will be locking horns with India in the inaugural final of the ICC World Test Championship final from June 18 at the Ageas Bowl, Southampton.
Both the WTC finalists faced many hurdles in their journey to the final and emerged as the top 2 on the group stage points table. Agarkar said that Virat Kohli and his men will not make a mistake to underestimate New Zealand in the summit clash.
Talking about the same during a recent chat on Star Sports’ show Cricket Connected, Ajit Agarkar said, “I don’t think the Indian team would be guilty to underestimate them (The Kiwis). I think the underdog tag has gone away from New Zealand.”
He further added, Every ICC tournament you look at – okay, this is the first of its kind, Test championship – every ICC tournament, whether it’s the T20 World Cup, the Champions Trophy, the World Cup; they always turn up, they’re always there in the thereabout. If not the finals, then in the quarterfinals or the semi-finals. So, the underdog tag should go. Yes, there are, perhaps bigger names in some of the other teams and that’s why you count them as favorites.”
While the former Indian seamer also pointed out that New Zealand beat India during the World Test Championship group stage and the conditions in the WTC final will be similar to that.
Elaborating the same, Ajit Agarkar said, “So, I don’t think India will be underestimating them. They beat India comprehensively well when India toured New Zealand and the conditions are likely to be very similar to what India got in New Zealand. So, India will have to play well to beat New Zealand in this contest.”
During the duration of the WTC league stage, New Zealand was the only team to have defeated India in the Test series. The visitors were completely outclassed by the Kiwis at their den and lost the series 0-2.