Monty Panesar, former England spinner has identified Ravichandran Ashwin as the potential game-changer for the WTC final between India and New Zealand starting in Southampton from the 18th of June.
India meets New Zealand in the final of the inaugural World Test Championship from the 18th of June in Southampton and former left-arm orthodox Monty Panesar has picked off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin to be the differentiator between the two sides. India’s off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin has witnessed a dramatic change in his fortunes in SENA since 2018 and is now a more lethal wicket-taker away from home.
Monty Panesar: The Difference Between The Two Sides Is Going To Be Off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin
He also has an excellent record against left-handers with his stock delivery leaving the left-hander. He was the first bowler in Test cricket to pick 200 wickets against left-handers and Monty Panesar feels that this would be one of the major reasons for his success in the WTC Final.
Monty Panesar said that according to him, the off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin would be the first choice spinner and play ahead of Ravindra Jadeja in the match.
“I think New Zealand is quite a good team and Conway had a great game against England. They have got few left-handers in there so I am sure Ashwin will probably be the first-choice spinner,” stated Panesar.
“But with the weather around and so many left-handers in the New Zealand squad, Ashwin could be the match-winner in this final. The difference is going to be Ashwin, I think Tim Southee is bowling well, he could be the difference for New Zealand,” the former spinner added.
Monty Panesar added that New Zealand is currently playing like the number one team in the world and thus it will not be easy for India in Southampton.
“New Zealand looks a better team than I think a lot of people thought in England and they are kind of playing like a number one team in the world. I think it is going to be a great Test match between the two sides and it’s not going to be easy for India.”
Monty Panesar further stated that Ravichandran Ashwin would play the perfect support act in the final and team India’s success would depend upon his success against the left-handers.
“If Ashwin can get the left-handers out cheaply, I think New Zealand would be in trouble, if Ashwin can’t then it would put more and more pressure on seamers. If he performs as he did in his country, India will be in a stronger position,” Panesar added.
The New Zealand XI have a number of southpaws in their line-up including the likes of Tom Latham and Henry Nicholls – two of their most successful batsmen of the last few years. Devon Conway, who scored a double hundred on Test debut is another left-hander who will be on Ravichandran Ashwin’s radar.
Monty Panesar: WTC Has Similar Effect Like India- Pakistan Or The Ashes
Temperatures in England have been soaring with an early summer and the wickets around the country are getting baked. This should suit the Indian spinners and Monty Panesar said that Virat Kohli will definitely go in with both his specialist spinners in Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja.
“We have a heatwave here and the weather is fantastic, I think the wicket will turn and India might go with two spinners. Also, Virat Kohli wants to get Ravindra Jadeja in the team.”
Monty Panesar said the WTC was a great advertisement for Test cricket and compared it to an India-Pakistan Test or the Ashes.
“I would like to see the match going to the fifth day, I think that would be a good advertisement for Test cricket and World Test Championship. I think it (best of three finals) can be the option as two best teams are playing against each other, it kind of has a similar effect as that of Test series between India and Pakistan or England and Australia,” Panesar added.
“This could be the next series like this which the teams would be looking forward to as you don’t have the home advantage here.”
Monty Panesar also gave his expert comments on the Ollie Robinson racist tweets controversy and had some advice for the bowler.
“ECB says cricket is for everyone, they stand against racism, they include diversity, they want people from diverse backgrounds to be involved in cricket. So the ECB didn’t have any option but to suspend him. I think the best will be, Ollie Robinson should say something about it rather than getting a statement from ECB or Sussex. Because if it comes from him people would listen. If there will be another statement people will say ‘oh yeah he is hiding behind it,” stated Panesar.
Ollie Robinson will miss next week’s second Test against New Zealand at Edgbaston after being suspended from all international cricket pending an investigation into racist and sexist Twitter messages, the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) announced.
He made an impressive on-field debut in the drawn first Test at Lord’s, but his efforts were overshadowed by the re-emergence of racist and sexist social media messages the 27-year-old had posted as a teenager in 2012 and 2013.