Sridharan Sriram, former India batsman and assistant coach of Australia is expecting an intense Word Test Championship (WTC) final between India and New Zealand at Southampton in England next month.
Having toured England in recent times as part of the Australian coaching staff, he believes that India holds the edge and tips the Virat Kohli-led side to claim the trophy.
Sridharan Sriram: Well Balanced India Have A Good Chance To Win And They Have Got All Bases Covered
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 is a quality side. Having done well against England in the last Test series, they will carry that confidence into the WTC final. They have a good chance to win,” said Sridharan Sriram.
New Zealand, meanwhile, will have the advantage of playing a Test series against England before the WTC final and have a good pace attack to exploit the conditions in England. Some former cricketers feel that New Zealand has the edge, but Sridharan Sriram disagreed.
“I don’t think so. I think India is a very well-balanced side, they’ve got all bases covered. And the quality of India’s bowling will test the New Zealand batsmen. The Indian batsmen have a lot of experience now of playing overseas, so I do not think that New Zealand has an upper hand because of their bowling,” explained the former India batsman.
While the pitches in England in general aid the fast bowlers, particularly those who can move the ball in the air, Sridharan Sriram believes that the wicket at Ageas Bowl in Southampton will help spinners. Sridharan Sriram also noted that the Rose Bowl in Southampton will offer some purchase to the spinners. He hopes that Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja will make good use of these conditions.
“From experience, I know that the surface in Southampton will help spinners. Both R Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja will get a good purchase,” said Sriram.
On the 2018 tour, India was quite reliant on Virat Kohli to deliver the goods. After struggling in 2014, the Indian skipper returned four years later and proved his mettle in those conditions with a total of 593 runs in five Tests at an average close to 60.
Sridharan Sriram Don’t Think India Is Over Dependent On Virat Kohli Which Was Evident From Win In Australia Without Him
While Sridharan Sriram acknowledges that the presence of Virat Kohli will once again make a big difference, he feels that the recent Australia tour – where he played just the first Test – was evidence that others are equally capable.
“I don’t think they (India) are over-dependent on Kohli because they beat Australia in Australia without him. But obviously having Kohli is a big advantage given his caliber,” Sriram said.
“His biggest attribute is the intensity he brings to every practice session. His desire to be the world’s best is unmatched,” observed Sriram, who has worked with Kohli in his capacity as batting and spin bowling coach of Royal Challengers Bangalore.
The WTC final between India and New Zealand will kick off on 18 June. New Zealand will play a couple of Tests against England ahead of the final.
Sridharan Sriram played 8 ODIs scoring 81 runs and picked 9 scalps. In 2007, Sridharan Sriram decided to sign with the Indian Cricket League. Although he quit Indian Cricket League in 2009 and accepted an amnesty offer from BCCI to be back into the reckoning for selection at the international level, he never played international cricket again as his last ODI was in 2004 after debuting in 2000. He played 2 IPL games.