Laxman picks his favorites: Former Indian specialist batsman turned expert VVS Laxman has termed Team India as the favorites of the favorites for the ICC World Test Championship final versus New Zealand. Laxman believes, that the Indian teams recent form and their nature of “embracing challenges” has made them a quality unit.
“Both the teams are good, but I think India will start as favourites because of the way the Indian team has played – not only over the last couple of years, but over a period of time.
“They have embraced the challenges and have overcome whatever obstacles they faced – as recently as the Australia series – and there’s a lot of talent and depth in this Indian line-up. But having said that, since it’s a one-off match, I feel whichever team bats well in the first innings will hold the ace,” Laxman told
VVS Laxman also spoke about the importance of the toss, and the advantage that the team batting first would have in the one-off Test.
“I believe that both teams are evenly matched. I believe that because this is a one-off match – and not a series – whichever team bats well in the first innings, will have the edge and that side will dictate the terms throughout the match,” he added.
Australia series will give India confidence
Although, New Zealand could be better prepared due to their two Test series over England prior to the big final, Laxman believes that Virat Kohli and his men will take plenty of confidence from their resilient display in Australia which led them to an iconic series win.
“Well, theoretically, that’s an advantage for New Zealand, because whenever you play any Test match in overseas conditions, you at least would like to play one – if not two – (practice) matches before the main match. There’s no doubt it helps you to get acclimatised to the conditions. That’s always been the norm for so many years.
“Especially for the batsmen, it will take time to get used to the new conditions. So, theoretically, New Zealand has the advantage.
“But India has not taken a backward step, irrespective of whatever challenges they have faced. The series win in Australia was a testament to their character and their positive mindset.
“I have never seen a bigger challenge for any team like the Indian team faced in Australia, where they lost the first Test after being bowled out for 36, and their regular captain (Virat Kohli) was not available for the remaining matches. All the senior players started getting injured one after the other and then you had the almost second-string Indian team taking on a mighty Australian team in its backyard. Irrespective of all the challenges, they went on to win the series in such an emphatic manner” Laxman added.
The IND vs NZ WTC Final will take place at the Ages Bowl, from June 18 to 22, with an optional sixth day as well. Team India are currently in Southampton and have begun training, while, New Zealand are squaring off to England in the first Test.