Henry Nicholls, a Black Caps batsman is worried about the threat spinners Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja may pose during the upcoming World Test Championship final as he feels India’s pace attack is on par with New Zealand’s world-class swing operators.
India and New Zealand will fight it out for the inaugural title at Southampton’s Ageas Bowl, one of those rare English tracks known to aid the slow bowlers for a considerable period in Test matches.
Henry Nicholls: India Has A Very Good Seam Attack And Their Spin Duo Is Also Experienced And Pose A Threat
The 29-year-old batsman has played 37 Tests amassing 2152 runs averaging 43.92 with 7 tons. He is in stunning form as he managed 174 runs against the Windies and 154 runs against Pakistan averaging over 70 in the last two series. His career-best score of 174 also came during the 2nd Test against and in West Indies.
“India has a very good seam attack and also has experienced spinners like Ashwin and Jadeja. They have been consistent in all parts of the world (of late) and bring quality (to attack),” Henry Nicholls, told PTI in an interview.
If there are no injury concerns, the Indian pace troika that is expected to be in the playing XI for the clash starting June 18 would be Jasprit Bumrah, Ishant Sharma, and Mohammed Shami.
“Mohammed Shami along with Jasprit Bumrah and Ishant Sharma have proven their quality over the years which is similar to our seamers (Trent Boult, Tim Southee and Neil Wagner) on whom we really pride ourselves on. So if you are facing that kind of a line-up, it’s an exciting challenge and as a group we are expecting it to be tough but also looking forward to the challenge,” the 29-year-old southpaw said.
His teammate Devon Conway’s strategy of pouring dry kitty litter on the track in order to create rough was backed by Henry Nicholls as they are playing at a “neutral venue” which is known to assist the spinners.
“That was something that we experimented in the camp before we came over to UK. You managed to get some more turn and get some practice. So playing at a neutral venue, we need to check what the wickets will be like there. Also the guile of Ashwin and Ravi Jadeja is something that we need to be prepared for,” Henry Nicholls said.
Ravichandran Ashwin has 409 scalps in 78 Tests and Ravindra Jadeja has 220 scalps in 51 Tests.
Henry Nicholls: Test Series Win Against India In New Zealand In 2020 Will Give Kiwis Confidence But Since The Test Is At A Neutral Venue It Levels The Playing Field
Henry Nicholls was a part of the New Zealand team that thrashed India inside three days in two home Tests in early 2020, something that will give them confidence going into the final.
“It’s an exciting challenge as finally we will be playing a Test match at a neutral venue. So that for both sides kind of levels the playing field. But we know and accept that it’s a different challenge but as a group we take a lot of confidence from that series win against India. Obviously, Number one and two playing the final is a challenge too,” he said.
Henry Nicholls’ sequence of scores in the last three Tests is 174 (vs West Indies), 56, 11, and 157 (vs Pakistan).
“It’s nice to kick on and get a couple of big scores. A season before this, I was playing well but not getting the results, so a lot of it was like keeping the things same as it had been. If I get in, I want to bat as long as I can. To be able to do that couple of times during the summer, it was good to contribute to couple of Test wins,” said Henry Nicholls.
He has recently had a couple of big partnerships with skipper Kane Williamson, including a monumental 369 run stand against Pakistan in Christchurch.
“Kane is one of the best in the world and so consistent across all three formats that you just try to watch him and learn as to how he goes about his work,” Henry Nicholls said.
Before the WTC final, New Zealand will play England at the Lord’s in the first of the two-Test matches. Black Caps’ highest scorer in that fateful 2019 World Cup final still at times finds it difficult to shrug off the disappointment.
“It’s something that will be there forever,” said Nicholls about the 2019 WC Final.
“It would have been an amazing game of cricket anywhere in the world but it happened to be the World Cup final at Lord’s which made it special. It was disappointing as a group not to win that but we certainly held our heads high after such a performance.” he concluded.
England beat New Zealand in the World Cup 2019 final on the boundary count — 26 to 17 after Super Over was tied. In the Cricket World Cup 2019, England and New Zealand couldn’t be separated at Lord’s in London. Both the sides were locked at 241, which led to a tie-breaker — a common occurrence in T20 cricket, especially in the IPL. As per the then ICC rules, in case of a tied Super Over, the side with the most number of boundaries wins the game.