Rashid Latif, former Pakistan wicketkeeper believes India will have an advantage in the World Test Championship (WTC) final against the Kiwis because of their strong spin department.
The 52-year-old pointed out the all-around ability of quality Indian spinners like Ravindra Jadeja and Ravichandran Ashwin. Their batting gives Virat Kohli an option to go in with five bowling options and enough depth with the bat.
Rashid Latif: New Zealand Will Struggle If Indian Spinners Extract Spin From the Wicket As Spinners Will Have A Role To Play At Southampton
Rashid Latif also feels that the pitch at Southampton has historically supported the spinners and that India might thrive in spin-friendly conditions. He believes New Zealand might struggle if they are unable to tackle the quality Indian spinners. In a video on the YouTube channel ‘My Master Cricket Coach’, Rashid Latif explained how conditions in Southampton might play into the hands of India.
“The huge advantage that India will have is their strong spin department. Both Jadeja and Ashwin have the ability to bat and are great spin bowlers. Spinners will have a role to play in Southampton. These spinners from both ends can make things difficult for New Zealand if they can extract a bit of spin from the wicket,” Latif stated.
Rashid Latif also shed light on how conditions could significantly affect the balance of power in the WTC final. New Zealand is already playing a two-match Test series against England and it would help them get acclimatized with conditions better. Ravichandran Ashwin has 409 scalps in 78 Tests and Ravindra Jadeja has 220 scalps in 51 Tests.
Rashid Latif: New Zealand Will Have The Advantage Since They Are Playing Already Against England And If There Is Cloud Covering
Moreover, Rashid Latif reckons if there is enough cloud covering, the conditions might be similar for the Kiwis back home and this could give their pacers the extra bit of edge to run through the Indian batting line-up.
“Both teams are strong, but New Zealand will have the advantage since they are playing already against England. Their batting also clicks well in such conditions. If there is a cloud covering in Southampton, New Zealand will have the advantage,” Latif concluded.
The New Zealand team thrashed India inside three days in two home Tests in early 2020, something that will give them confidence going into the final. The New Zealand pace bowling quartet of Trent Boult, Tim Southee, Neil Wagner, and Kyle Jamieson was crucial in them qualifying for the final as they won all their games at home in the WTC cycle defeating India, West Indies, and Pakistan 2-0 each. They will once again pose a massive challenge to Virat Kohli and other batsmen.
India and New Zealand qualified for the WTC final after finishing as the top-two teams in the inaugural edition which started after the ICC World Cup in August 2019. India won 12 out of the 17 Tests they played during this time period while New Zealand registered 7 victories out of 11.
Usually, considering they are fit, the Indian side has fielded the pace-bowling trio of Ishant Sharma, Mohammed Shami, and Jasprit Bumrah. In the last 11 Tests they have played together, this particular unit has been vastly successful, bagging 149 wickets.