India and New Zealand are set to square off for the first ever ICC World Test Championship Final within a matter of days. Though the Indian Cricket Team might be considered as heavyweights in World Cricket, Kane Williamson’s New Zealand could certainly pack a punch.
On 15 June, the New Zealand Board announced the 15-man squad for the clash against India. The likes of Ajaz Patel, Colin de Grandhomme and Tom Blundell have retained their sports. Doug Bracewell, Jacob Duffey, Daryl Mitchell and Mitchell Santner have been excluded from the squad.
Ajaz Patel did have a decent outing at Edgbaston, and has Gary Stead’s backing ahead of the final.
“We’ve gone with Ajaz as our specialist spinner after an impressive outing at Edgbaston, and we believe he could be a factor at the Ageas Bowl,” said Stead.
The Kiwis are now at the top of the ICC Test Team Ranking, while replacing the Indian unit in the process. New Zealand are fresh from a 1-0 win over hosts England in the two-match Test series. The first game ended as a draw, whereas, the second Test was quite comfortably won with eight wickets to spare by New Zealand.
In spite of Kane Williamon, BJ Watling, and Tim Southee being on the sidelines, New Zealand still managed to register a promising win in the second Test. Williamon and Watling were ruled out due to minor knocks, but are expected to be back in the eleven for the finals as confirmed by the Head-coach.
“Kane and BJ have certainly benefitted from their week of rest and rehabilitation, and we expect them to be fit and available for the final,” Stead stated.
Kane Williamson (C), Tom Blundell (WK), Trent Boult, Devon Conway, Colin de Grandhomme, Matt Henry, Kyle Jamieson, Tom Latham, Henry Nicholls, Ajaz Patel, Tim Southee, Ross Taylor, Neil Wagner, BJ Watling (WK), Will Young
The final between India and New Zealand is scheduled from June 18-22, and will be hosted at the Ageas Bowl Stadium, in Southampton.