The date of June 18 will become a significant day in the history of cricket as the first-ever World Test Championship final is scheduled to be commencing between the world’s best Test sides, India and New Zealand, at the Ageas Bowl in Southampton. While New Zealand is coming from a fresh 1-0 win against England in a two-Test series, Team India is sweating it out hard during their regular training sessions and an intra-squad match at the match venue.
Both teams possess immense depth in their squads overall, consisting of some high-profile specialist batters and bowlers. While India boasts the likes of Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, Cheteshwar Pujara, Rishabh Pant, and Jasprit Bumrah in their squad, New Zealand has equally skilled players in their team like skipper Kane Williamson, Neil Wagner, Tim Southee, and Tom Latham.
Here’s a look at the top 3 players from both teams to watch out in the WTC Final:
The record of the Indian skipper during the tours of England defines how the right-handed he has improved himself with every visit. With the incentive of leading the nation to its maiden WTC win, Virat will be expected to play some dominating game if he gets a steady start at the beginning and his eye in. During the last Test tour to England in 2018, Kohli had amassed 593 runs in five Tests with the help of a couple of centuries and three half-centuries as well.
A bowling attack comprising of Jasprit Bumrah gives an extra tooth to Team India. And along with the likes of Mohammed Shami, Bumrah can unsettle any batting line-up in the world. His peculiar action and the ability to make the ball skid off the surface make it tough for a batsman to deal with. Bumrah has been India’s go-to bowler irrespective of the conditions. He has played three Tests in England and has picked up 14 wickets, including a five-wicket haul at Nottingham.
The explosive Indian wicket-keeper batsman has emerged as the match-winner for India this year. Pant’s unorthodox batsmanship and his nature of taking the game to the opposition, regardless of the situation, is surely the X-factor that India needs against a strong New Zealand attack. He announced himself in Test cricket by smashing Adil Rashid for a six-over long-on in his debut game. In England, the left-hander has scored 162 runs in three Test matches. His highest score came at the Oval when he smashed 114 runs.
The Kiwi skipper will be equally dangerous as before despite returning from an elbow injury. He has been in tremendous form in Test cricket in the summer of 2020-21 as he had scored two double centuries at home. However, he averages just 26.10 in England. Despite scoring a hundred at Lord’s, Williamson, in five Tests in the UK, has just 261 runs under his belt.
One of the most experienced players in the Kiwi squad, Ross Taylor forms the backbone of the batting middle-order. His ability to change gears against spin as well as pace makes him a key figure against the quality Indian spin of Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja. The veteran batsman averages over 40 in England in Test cricket. Taylor has played nine Test matches in England and scored 650 runs including an unbeaten knock of 154 that came in Manchester in 2008.
Boult missed the first Test against England in the recently-concluded series but showcased his class when he bowled brilliantly in the second to help his team claim the series against the hosts. With his traditional left-arm inswingers casting doubts in the minds of the right-handed batsman, Team India will vary of him Boult enjoys bowling in England. He has picked up 27 wickets in five Tests, including two five-wicket hauls. He averages 22.40 in England with the ball.