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India vs New Zealand

India cricket team. Photo: @BCCI
India cricket team. Photo: @BCCI
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ICC T20 World Cup 2021: India Squad, Schedule, Date, Time, And Venue

ICC T20 World Cup 2021 will start from 17th October immediately after the conclusion of IPL’s UAE leg. Cricket experts and fans got filled with excitement after the International Cricket Council (ICC) announced the schedule for the upcoming ICC T20 World Cup 2021 to be staged in the UAE.

Notably, the marquee tournament is scheduled to begin on 17th October and the finals of the event will take place on 14th November in United Arab Emirates (UAE). Meanwhile, Team India will be entering the tournament as one of the favourites to win the Cup having won it only once previously in the inaugural 2007 edition.

ICC T20 World Cup 2021:- Representational image of the ICC Men's T20 World Cup trophy | AFP / Jewel Samad
ICC T20 World Cup 2021:- Representational image of the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup trophy | AFP / Jewel Samad

ICC T20 World Cup 2021: India Squad, Schedule, Date, Time, And Venue

ICC T20 World Cup 2021: India Placed In Group B Alongside Pakistan, New Zealand, And Afghanistan

India is placed in the Group B of the tournament alongside arch-rivals Pakistan, nemesis New Zealand, and rising team Afghanistan. Virat Kohli will be leading India in the marquee event and they will be starting their campaign with the high-profile battle against arch-rivals Pakistan.

Pakistan has always struggled against India in the World Cups. Whether it is T20 World Cup or 50-over World Cup, India has remained victorious in all the games. Meanwhile, after facing arch-rivals, India will lock horns with New Zealand, and so far New Zealand has been the dominant side in the ICC events against India. New Zealand defeated India in the 2007 T20 World Cup, 2016 T20 World Cup, 2019 ODI World Cup, and 2021 WTC final.

India and Pakistan rarely play against each other but have a heated rivalry. (Photo by Tharaka Basnayaka/NurPhoto via Getty Images) NURPHOTO VIA GETTY IMAGES
India and Pakistan rarely play against each other but have a heated rivalry. (Photo by Tharaka Basnayaka/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Meanwhile, Team India is one of the strongest sides in the upcoming T20 World Cup event. As they have covered each and every aspect of the team. From top-order batters to middle-order batters and from batting all-rounders to bowling all-rounders India has figured everything out.

The strong bench strength that India has is one of the biggest positives for India heading into the tournament. Also with the UAE leg of the Indian Premier League ( IPL) 2021 taking place just before the World Cup, the big names like Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, Hardik Pandya, Ravindra Jadeja, and Jasprit Bumrah are expected to take a good form in their bag. Meanwhile, legendary Indian captain MS Dhoni will be the mentor of the Indian team, he will provide much-needed experience to the team in the T20 World Cup 2021.

So far, India has won one T20 World Cup trophy, back in the inaugural edition of the World Cup in 2007 under MS Dhoni. Also, they were runner-ups in 2014, Moreover, they reached in semi-finals of the 2016 World Cup.

ICC T20 World Cup 2021: India’s Squad

Virat Kohli (Capt), Rohit Sharma (vc), KL Rahul, Suryakumar Yadav, Rishabh Pant (wk), Ishan Kishan (wk), Hardik Pandya, Ravindra Jadeja, Rahul Chahar, Ravichandran Ashwin, Axar Patel, Varun Chakravarthy, Jasprit Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohd Shami.

Standby players: Shreyas Iyer, Shardul Thakur, Deepak Chahar.

Coming back to the squad, in a surprise move, Ravichandran Ashwin has been included in the team which will begin its campaign in the showpiece event against arch-rivals Pakistan. He had last played a T20I against West Indies in July 2017. Veteran former skipper MS Dhoni will be the mentor of the team. The likes of Krunal Pandya, Shikhar Dhawan, Kuldeep Yadav, and Yuzvendra Chahal didn’t find a place in the squad.

Ravichandran Ashwin of India. (Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)
Ravichandran Ashwin of India. (Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)

ICC T20 World Cup 2021: India’s Complete Schedule

24th October 2021: India vs Pakistan, 7:30 PM, Dubai

31st October 2021 India vs New Zealand, 7:30 PM, Dubai

3rd November 2021 India vs Afghanistan, 7:30 PM, Abu Dhabi

5th November 2021 India vs B1, 7:30 PM, Dubai

8th November 2021 India vs A2, 7:30 PM Dubai

Gautam Gambhir feels New Zealand's excellent record against India in ICC events does not matter
Gautam Gambhir feels New Zealand's excellent record against India in ICC events does not matter
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India And New Zealand Match In 2021 T20I World Cup Will Be Evenly Poised: Gautam Gambhir

Gautam Gambhir believes the India-New Zealand clash at the upcoming T20 World Cup is an evenly-matched contest. Team India will play New Zealand in their second match of the T20 World Cup, scheduled to be played on October 31 in Dubai.

The Virat Kohli-led side will go into the match after opening their campaign against arch-rivals Pakistan.

Gautam Gambhir AFP
Gautam Gambhir AFP

Gautam Gambhir: India And New Zealand Match In 2021 T20I World Cup Will Be Evenly Poised

During a discussion on the Star Sports show Game Plan, Gautam Gambhir pointed out that the success the Kiwis have enjoyed in previous ICC tournaments against India is immaterial.

“Absolutely 50-50. When you go to such a big tournament, the records are only for the media and the fans. The records do not matter for the players at all and they do not think about them as well.”

India will have a one-week break after playing against Pakistan, and will next take on the New Zealand side on 31st October 2021 once again in Dubai. The Indian side will play their third match of the tournament on 3rd November 2021, against the Afghanistan side.

India will play their 4th match of the tournament against the first placed qualifier team from Group B on 5th November 2021 at Dubai. And, their final Group fixture will be played on 8th November 2021, against the second-placed qualifying team from Group A in Dubai.

Indian Cricket Team
Indian Cricket Team. Image Credits: Twitter

The former Indian opener added that an individual player might be concerned about his record against an opposition cricketer, but teams are not bothered about such stats.

“Yes, you can think about your individual record. If a player is struggling against a particular bowler, that can be on his mind. But Pakistan having never won against India and India having never won against New Zealand, that never matters.”

India has not defeated New Zealand in an ICC event since the 2003 ODI World Cup. The Kiwis were also the only team they lost to during their title-winning run at the 2007 T20 World Cup.

Gautam Gambhir: India Can Definitely Defeat New Zealand For Having Firepower

Gautam Gambhir believes Team India can certainly put it across the Kane Williamson-led side, considering the all-around depth of their squad.  Gautam Gambhir highlighted that Team India has plenty of star players in their lineup.

“India can definitely defeat New Zealand, you have the firepower. You have Jasprit Bumrah, Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul – when you have batsmen and bowlers like these, it will not be easy for New Zealand.”

New Zealand's Kane Williamson celebrates with the trophy and teammates after winning the final of the ICC World Test Championship. Photograph: John Sibley/Reuters
New Zealand’s Kane Williamson celebrates with the trophy and teammates after winning the final of the ICC World Test Championship. Photograph: John Sibley/Reuters

On the flip side, Gautam Gambhir warned that the Kiwis cannot be taken lightly either as they have a well-balanced side too.

“We cannot say New Zealand are the underdogs because they are a very very well-balanced side. They have Trent Boult and Lockie Ferguson, and they have the firepower in the batting. So, you will have to play good cricket.”

Team India’s run at the last two ICC events has come to an end at the hands of New Zealand namely at the 2019 World Cup semi-final and the inaugural World Test Championship. They will hope to buck the trend and put it across the ICC World Test champions this time around.

New Zealand knocked out India in the 2019 ODI World Cup, defeating the Virat Kohli-led side in the semifinal. India travelled to New Zealand in February 2020, where they lost the ODI series and the Test series to the Kane Williamson-led team. The recent World Test Championship final defeat against NZ further showcased India’s inability to beat the Kiwis in ICC tournaments.

Dinesh Karthik Photo: © Reuters (Main Image)
Dinesh Karthik Photo: © Reuters (Main Image)

Dinesh Karthik Receals Praises Turned Into Abuses After Receiving Plaudits For Effort As A Weatherman In WTC Final

Dinesh Karthik revealed how praises turned into abuses in a matter of days after initially receiving plaudits for his effort as a ‘weatherman’ during the WTC final between India and New Zealand.

While serving his role as a commentator during the World Test Championship final, Dinesh Karthik donned another hat– that of a weatherman during the clash in Southampton. With rain on the horizon, even during the build-up of the WTC final, the weather was always going to be a hot topic of discussion.

Dinesh Karthik file image. (Photo: Surjeet Yadav/IANS)
Dinesh Karthik file image. (Photo: Surjeet Yadav/IANS)

Dinesh Karthik: Can’t Wake Up Every Day At 6 Am To Give A Weather Report

When Day 1 of the Test match was washed out without the toss taking place, all eyes were on day two and the weather in particular. That is when ‘Weatherman’ Dinesh Karthik decided to wake up at 6 am in the morning to give the fans an update on the weather in Southampton.

On Twitter, Dinesh Karthik would upload a picture of the Ageas Bowl, giving an idea of what the conditions looked like. However, after initially receiving plaudits for his effort, Dinesh Karthik revealed how those praises turned into abuses in a matter of days.

“Weatherman” is a very double-edged sword; I’ll put it on record. The first day, a lot of praise, the second day, very happy, the third day they started abusing me. I wanted to sleep; I can’t wake up every day at 6’o clock to give a weather report,” Karthik told sports presenter Gaurav Kapoor in his podcast ’22 Yarns with Gaurav Kapur’.

Dinesh Karthik during the WTC final between India and New Zealand (Courtesy- Sanjana Ganesan Twitter)
Dinesh Karthik during the WTC final between India and New Zealand (Courtesy- Sanjana Ganesan Twitter)

“They took it too seriously on social media. They started abusing me saying, ‘Wake up! What the hell are you doing?’ in far more choice words that I can’t use on the podcast, just for not waking up, which was hard but you have to live up to their expectations, I guess. I got abused for saying it was raining.”

Dinesh Karthik, who is very much an active cricketer became an instant hit in the commentary box with his sharp analytical skills when he debuted as a commentator in the World Test Championship final between India and New Zealand last month.

Dinesh Karthik Was Abused When It Rained As He Couldn’t Wake Up Early To Give The Weather News

Dinesh Karthik was pretty regular in posting the weather update, but on days when the forecast did not look promising, such as Day 4 which also resulted in a washout, the India and KKR wicketkeeper-batsman said that things turned uglier.

“Two things I got abused for were for saying it’s gray and it’s raining and the fact that I couldn’t wake up early to give the news. And a lot of it, I am talking about thousands of abuses. Not one or two, that I would have let go. Thousands saying ‘Wake up, wake the hell up’,” Karthik revealed.

Sunil Gavaskar. (Photo Source: Twitter)
Sunil Gavaskar. (Photo Source: Twitter)

Before making his commentary debut, Dinesh Karthik got to spend a lot of time with Sunil Gavaskar in Serbia, a country they were in for 10 days before entering the UK amid the pandemic.

Dinesh Karthik is coming across as a natural on the microphone and all he did was take a couple of online sessions (on when to speak on-air, when not to) before flying to the UK via Serbia. He hasn’t played for India since the World Cup semifinal loss to New Zealand in 2019 but the Tamil Nadu veteran has not given up on another comeback.

Dinesh Karthik was last seen in action in the IPL 2021, where he scored 123 runs across 7 innings at an average of 30.75. He has featured in 203 IPL games and amassed 3946 runs averaging 26.13 with 19 fifties. The KKR and Indian keeper has played 26 Tests, 94 ODIs, and 32 T20Is and his last appearance came in World Cup 2019’s Semi-Final against New Zealand.

Shane Jurgensen
Shane Jurgensen
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Shane Jurgensen Considers Winning The WTC Final Against India Was His Greatest Coaching Achievement

Shane Jurgensen, a New Zealand bowling coach considers winning the inaugural World Test Championship title as his greatest coaching achievement while terming the pace quartet of Tim Southee, Trent Boult, Neil Wagner, and Kyle Jamieson as the best in the world.

New Zealand defeated India by eight wickets at Southampton last week to claim the WTC crown, their second ICC trophy after Champions Trophy 2000.

Shane Jurgensen Image Source : GETTY IMAGES
Shane Jurgensen Image Source: GETTY IMAGES

Shane Jurgensen: Personally, Winning The WTC Final Against India Was My Greatest Coaching Acheivement

Shane Jurgensen feels New Zealand has the best bowling assault in international cricket. The Blackcaps bowling coach trusts the World Test Championship final execution offered convincing evidence about the New Zealand bowling attack.

“I think for me this is about, for all of New Zealand really, from people that have always gone to (put) the extra effort from New Zealand Cricket’s staff, board, sponsors, the caterers at the ground we play at, the curators at all the grounds, the physios, the domestic coaches and the CEOs – everyone has had an input into this somewhere and a valuable contribution and it really means a lot to us now,” he said.

“I think, at times, I’ve been really emotional in my room, and also for me personally my wife because she puts up with me being away a lot. For me, personally, this is my greatest coaching achievement,” Jurgensen was quoted as saying by ESPNcricinfo.

Shane Jurgensen revealed that he was still crying tears of joy and was watching the final day’s play over and over again while being in isolation after returning home.

“I’ve seen a few highlights. I’ve sort of been reading a lot and watching a bit on YouTube, so looking at it from all different angles,” he said.
NZ pacer Trent Boult (File Photo | AFP)
NZ pacer Trent Boult (File Photo | AFP)

“But for me what is different this time is the reflection on me personally and also you know for me in my area – the bowling unit what they have achieved…I think the morning of the last day to be able to make the vital breakthroughs with Kyle (Jamieson) and Tim (Southee) and Trent (Boult). It was a fantastic effort to put ourselves in a position to chase a reasonably low total.”

Shane Jurgensen has held coaching roles with Bangladesh, Fiji, Scotland, and New Zealand was effusive in his praise for his pace quartet Trent Boult, Tim Southee, Kyle Jamieson, and Neil Wagner.

“I think so. I’ve been thinking that (New Zealand have the best attack) for a while. So it’s just me and my role and belief in these bowlers; what they bring to us as a team and the challenges they have overseas,” he said.

The New Zealand bowlers put on a masterclass in Southampton as they helped New Zealand beat India by eight wickets in the debut WTC final. Ross Taylor hit the winning runs.

Shane Jurgensen: Winning WTC Final Isn’t A Fluke

Shane Jurgensen said that now people will sit up and take notice of the fact that this wasn’t a fluke.

“But, I think they are and we can probably strongly say that right now – this hasn’t been a fluke and it has been happening for a long time. As I said, the belief in the bowling group – how they plan, how fit they are, how strong they are and how much they believe in each other. The trust is amazing and we got four or five bowlers in the final, but all do different things. Kyle’s height and accuracy, to be able to swing it both ways at a good pace. Tim’s accuracy, new-ball execution – unbelievable. He can adapt to use the crease – over and around – to left-handers and right-handers.”
New Zealand's Kane Williamson celebrates with the trophy and teammates after winning the final of the ICC World Test Championship. Photograph: John Sibley/Reuters
New Zealand’s Kane Williamson celebrates with the trophy and teammates after winning the final of the ICC World Test Championship. Photograph: John Sibley/Reuters

“We know Trent’s ability with the new ball, but he took wickets with the old ball; he’s been doing that for a while, so it’s nothing new for me and the team. We know that Neil (Wagner) makes people uncomfortable on the back foot and the front foot with the lengths he bowls, but he’s now getting guys out like Trent. So, he’s building up a different skill set to be able to swing the ball both ways and seam it,” he added.

The New Zealand pace attack is viewed as quite possibly the most adjusted one having many varieties in Test cricket. Trent Boult and Tim Southee are two of the best swing bowlers. The option of Kyle Jamieson has added another measurement to an all-around compromising attack. Shane Jurgensen hailed the assortment the New Zealand bowlers have in red-ball cricket. Neil Wagner has added another stunt to his ordinance.

Dale Steyn
Dale Steyn
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Dale Steyn Suggests India Might Want To Alter Their Playing XI

Dale Steyn has suggested that Team India might want to alter their playing XI despite announcing their team well in advance for the inaugural marquee World Test Championship final against New Zealand. Although India has gone in with two specialist spinners, Dale Steyn believes Virat Kohli’s team could include an extra seamer ahead of the toss today(the 2nd day).

New Zealand, meanwhile, is keeping their cards close to their chest as they are yet to announce their playing XI. In a press conference on Friday, Tom Latham stated that the Kiwi team management would have a look at the pitch before taking the final call on the team combination.

Dale Steyn
Dale Steyn Photograph: Christiaan Kotze/AFP/Getty Images

Dale Steyn: India Welcome If They Want To Change Previously Declared Team  And Bring In An Extra Seamer

But Dale Steyn praised India’s approach as it showed that they are confident of getting a positive result in the summit clash against top-ranked Kiwis.

The South African pacer Dale Steyn said in an interaction with ESPNCricinfo: “I like what they (Team India) have done. They have come out and told the world, the team that they are going to go with. But they only have to hand in the team sheet at the toss so if they want to change their team and bring in an extra seamer, they are more than welcome to do that. They probably might even do that.”

Ajaz Patel
Ajaz Patel (Photo Credit: ICC/Twitter)

Dale Steyn further added that India’s approach shows that they have a clear game plan heading into the WTC Final.

“It gives the players the opportunity to prepare and lets the opposition know that this team is ready. They have worked out how they are going to go about winning this Test match and they are putting it all out there.”

R Sridhar: Since The Toss Is Not Yet Over, A Decision On The Final XI Will Be Taken At The Time Of The Toss

Team India fielding coach R Sridhar hinted that the side is keeping their options open of a possible change in the playing XI before the toss. However, he added that the playing XI India named could win any Test, irrespective of the conditions on offer.

Mohammed Siraj
Mohammed Siraj. Photo Credit: Getty Images.

Speaking at a press conference after Day 1 of the final was washed out, R. Sridhar stated: “The XI that was announced (previously) is a team that takes the pitch and conditions out of the equation. They can perform in any given weather conditions. Having said that, the toss is not yet over, so a decision on the final XI will be taken at the time of the toss if needed,”

Mohammed Siraj’s form in the Test series against Australia and England earlier this year might tempt the Indian team management to go in with an extra seamer. It remains to be seen what decision Team India will make when Virat Kohli and Kane Williamson turn up for the toss on the Day 2 of the WTC final. Play may be possible on the second day with weather conditions bright and sunny.

Incessant rain washed out the opening day of the much-anticipated World Test Championship final at the Rose Bowl in Southampton, however, the weather forecast remains positive for at least the first half of the second day of the summit clash. Despite day 1 being washed out, the presence of a reserve sixth day mitigated the frustration. Day 2 hence will witness the toss for the summit clash and each day will likely have 98 overs.

Playing XI: Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane, Rohit Sharma, Shubman Gill, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Mohammed Shami, Ishant Sharma, Jasprit Bumrah, Rishabh Pant.

Dinesh Karthik Photo: © Reuters (Main Image)
Dinesh Karthik Photo: © Reuters (Main Image)
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WTC Final 2021: Dinesh Karthik Likened Indian Captain With Fire And New Zealand Captain With Ice

Dinesh Karthik has likened the captains of India and New Zealand with fire and ice respectively. He said both are poles apart and added that the duo both ‘love their cricket’ but ‘they play two different ways.’

Virat Kohli and Kane Williamson will battle it out in the most anticipated WTC final captaining their respective sides India and New Zealand starting Friday, 18th June at the Ageas Bowl in Southampton.

Virat Kohli congratulates Kane Williamson
Virat Kohli congratulates Kane Williamson(Photo by Marty MELVILLE / AFP) (Photo by MARTY MELVILLE/AFP via Getty Images)

Dinesh Karthik: Virat Kohli Breathes Fire While Kane Williamson Is Cool

Even India wicketkeeper-batter Dinesh Karthik has dubbed the contest by using the same phrase, which many experts and fans of the cricket fraternity have used to describe Virat Kohli and Kane Williamson. The two skippers have their own unique method to approach the match situation.

“As cliched as it sounds, fire and ice is the best way to put it for both of them. This guy (Virat Kohli) breathes fire, that guy (Kane Williamson) is about as cool as it comes. You need 32 runs in one over, he is still smiling and making it look like it’s too easy.”

“Virat on the other hand, you know he is in your face, if you get it once wrong, he is going to give you the choicest of words when you go back – once you get out. That’s always been the experience that I have had and that is the beauty of playing with both of these guys. They love their cricket, but they play two different ways.”

Dinesh Karthik file image. (Photo: Surjeet Yadav/IANS)
Dinesh Karthik file image. (Photo: Surjeet Yadav/IANS)
“They have had the rivalry for the longest time now, right from the under-19 days, but even now one of the cricketers Virat Kohli genuinely and mutually admires, I think they always put these four cricketers together – Virat Kohli, Joe Root, Steven Smith, and Kane Williamson, ” said Dinesh Karthik.

“They are always compared together when you talk about batting or anything. I think his (Virat) favourite amongst those four without a doubt will be Kane Williamson. You go on social media and see; he has got nice things to say about Kane Williamson. They have spent a lot of good times. I think they spend a lot of time together,” Dinesh Karthik told Star Sports.

Led by Kane Williamson, the Kiwis were the first to qualify for the finale and with a historic series win against England, they will surely fancy their chances in Southampton. Virat Kohli, India’s most successful captain in Test cricket with 36 wins out of 60 Tests, will be aiming for his first ICC title.

Dinesh Karthik: Virat Kohli And Kane Williamson Spend A Lot Of Time With Each Other And Have Mutual Respect

The former stumper recalled an anecdote where he saw both of them sitting together and watching a T20 game.

“If I am right, I remember a very clear vision of both of them sitting together of watching, both didn’t play one of those T20 games, they were sitting together. They spend a lot of good time with each other, they have a lot of respect for each other, most importantly they will play really hard.

“One will play easy; one will play with a smile and the other one will play it in your face, but they have a lot of love for each other off the field.”

Virat Kohli and Kane Williamson(Getty Images)
Virat Kohli and Kane Williamson(Getty Images)

India takes on New Zealand in the WTC Final on June 18 in Southampton. Virat Kohli and Kane Williamson had first crossed paths as captains when they led India and New Zealand in the semi-final of the 2008 U-19 World Cup. The Indian captain had come out on top and even picked up the wicket of his counterpart in the semi-final.

Rohit Sharma
Rohit Sharma
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Rohit Sharma Is Likely To Struggle A Bit Against The Swing: Salman Butt

Rohit Sharma will be a crucial player for India in the ICC World Test Championship Final, scheduled to begin this Friday, 18th June against top-ranked Test side New Zealand in Southampton. However, former Pakistan captain Salman Butt feels the opener may struggle against swing.

Speaking on his YouTube channel, Salman Butt highlighted how swinging deliveries trouble every batter while playing against the Dukes’ ball in English conditions.

Salman Butt. Image-Twitter
Salman Butt. Image-Twitter

Rohit Sharma, A Free-Flowing Stroke Player Is Likely To Struggle A Bit Against The Swing: Salman Butt

Former Indian opener Virender Sehwag has backed Rohit Sharma to score big in English conditions this summer. However, Salman Butt believes Virender Sehwag has publicly backed Rohit Sharma to bolster the Indian opener’s confidence ahead of the WTC Final.

The former Pakistan cricket team skipper opined that a player needs to respect the fast bowlers in the initial phases of his innings in English conditions. According to Salman Butt, the batsman can dominate the proceedings after settling in the middle.

“A free-flowing stroke player like Rohit Sharma is likely to struggle a bit against the swing. Virender Sehwag himself had great hand and eye coordination, but every batsman faces some issues while playing in swinging conditions.

“Even Sehwag knows that. Rohit Sharma scored four centuries during the World Cup in England, but it was a white-ball game and not a Test match with the Dukes ball. Batsmen need to be a little patient while playing the Dukes ball,” Salman Butt said.

Rohit Sharma
Rohit Sharma. Image Credits: Twitter

Salman Butt felt the unique nature of the Dukes’ ball could trouble any batsman from either team and not just Rohit Sharma. Lastly, Salman Butt concluded by stating that if Rohit Sharma gets going, New Zealand will find it challenging to dismiss him.

Salman Butt Don’t Think India Will Show Unnecessary Aggression Because It Is The WTC Final

The cricket fraternity has its sights set on the inaugural ICC World Test Championship final, with few players labelling it the equivalent of a World Cup final. However, Salman Butt feels India should play their natural game and treat this fixture as any regular match. In his view, there’s no need for India to alter their approach to this game.

“Team India has its own approach. I don’t think the team will show unnecessary aggression because it is the final. Attacking batsmen like Rishabh Pant, Rohit Sharma will play a bit more aggressively than others, while someone like Cheteshwar Pujara will take his time to settle in the middle. So, I don’t think they will change their natural game,” Salman Butt added.

Virat Kohli with Rohit Sharma
Virat Kohli with Rohit Sharma IMAGE: AFP

The World Test Championship Final will begin on June 18, and it will be exciting to see if Virat Kohli’s side can become the first-ever winners of the ICC World Test Championship. Rohit Sharma has amassed 1030 runs in 11 Tests averaging 64.37 in the WTC cycle of 2019-21.

The likes of Marnus Labuschagne (1675 runs), Joe Root (1660 runs), Steve Smith (1341 runs), Ben Stokes (1334 runs), Ajinkya Rahane (1094 runs), and Rohit Sharma have managed to score above 1000 runs in the WTC. Virat Kohli is the third-highest scorer among Indians with 877 runs.

Ishant Sharma(3/36) shone with the ball in the ongoing intra-squad practice match in Southampton before the WTC final. Openers Shubman Gill (85 off 135 balls) and Rishabh Pant (121* off 94 balls) shone with the bat. Ravindra Jadeja scored an unbeaten 54 off 76 balls in India’s intra-squad practice match at the Ageas Bowl in Southampton.

International Cricket Council , AFP File Photo
International Cricket Council , AFP File Photo
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WTC Final: ICC To Induct 10 Legends Into Its Hall Of Fame

ICC will induct 10 legends of cricket into its illustrious Hall of Fame, with two players each from five eras, dating back to cricket’s early days, joining an existing list of 93 of the world’s greatest.

The global cricket body announced a special edition of the ICC Hall of Fame to coincide with the first-ever World Test Championship final, to be contested between India and New Zealand, from June 18 in Southampton.

ICC Cricket Hall of Fame
ICC Cricket Hall of Fame

ICC Honoured To Announce A One Time Induction Of Ten Cricket Greats Into ICC Hall Of Fame

As many as 10 legends of the game who have made a significant contribution to the history of Test cricket will be inducted to join the 93 players, who are already on the illustrious list, taking the total to 103.

“It is an honour for us to announce a one-time induction of ten cricketing greats into the Hall of Fame to coincide with the first-ever final of the World Test Championship in Southampton,” ICC acting chief executive Geoff Allardice said in a release.

International Cricket Council
International Cricket Council

The special intake will see two players from each of the following five eras join the ranks of the world’s greatest players: Early Cricket Era (pre-1918), Inter-War Cricket Era (1918–1945), Post-War Cricket Era (1946–1970), ODI Era (1971–1995), Modern Cricket Era (1996–2016).

10 Legends Set To Be Inducted As Part Of The Special Edition Voted By ICC Hall Of Fame Voting Academy

The 10 legends inducted as part of the special edition have been voted by the Hall of Fame Voting Academy, comprising living Hall of Fame members, a FICA (Federation of International Cricketer Association) representative, prominent cricket journalists, and senior ICC figures. The announcement will be made during a live show streamed via ICC’s digital media channels.

Alan Wilkins
Alan Wilkins. Photo Credit: PSL.

The special edition of the Hall of Fame show will be hosted by Alan Wilkins and streamed live on all digital channels, including Facebook and YouTube on June 13.

The ICC’s independent statistician will compile a list of significant cricketing figures from each era which will be presented to the Hall of Fame Nominations Committee who will then shortlist six names from each of the five eras. Thereafter, the Hall of Fame Voting Academy would vote online for the final induction.

India vs New Zealand
India vs New Zealand
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India Can’t Take New Zealand Lightly In WTC Final, Says Gundappa Viswanath

Gundappa Viswanath, a former Indian batting legend lauded India’s current form but warned them against complacency. Virat Kohli and his men are eyeing a third straight big Test trophy.

After pulling off a huge Test series win vs Australia Down Under and registering a 3-1 win vs England at home the Indian team is one win away from winning the inaugural World Test Championship. India will take on New Zealand in the WTC final at the Ageas Bowl in Southampton on June 18.

Gundappa Viswanath
Gundappa Viswanath File picture

Gundappa Viswanath: India Can’t Take New Zealand Lightly

It’s difficult to pick a favourite between these two teams. India is ranked number one in the ICC Test rankings, while the Kiwis are ranked number two. The two teams are already in England.

New Zealand is currently playing a two-match Test series against England. The first match ended in a draw. India meanwhile reached Southampton on June 3, after serving a quarantine period of almost 10 days in India.

“Both the teams will be playing at a neutral venue. It will be a good contest. New Zealand are a good side. India can’t take them lightly. The atmosphere will be different,” Viswanath told Timesofindia.com in an exclusive interview.

Gundappa Viswanath, Indian cricketer
Gundappa Viswanath, Indian cricketer (Photo Credits: Facebook)

“India has an edge over New Zealand. It will be an exciting clash. Winning in Australia and vs England will be a confidence booster for India in the WTC final,” Gundappa Viswanath, who played 91 Tests and 25 ODIs for India between 1969 and 1983, further told TimesofIndia.com.

There is a huge buzz around for the WTC final with many experts of the cricket fraternity comparing the match to a World Cup final. The mouth-watering clash between India and New Zealand has been given a reserve 6th day, to protect the match against bad weather.

Gundappa Viswanath Feels The WTC Final Will Be A Battle Between Indian Bowlers And Kiwi Batsmen

Interestingly, Gundappa Viswanath feels the key contest will be between the India bowlers and New Zealand batsmen. India last played a Test match against England in March this year winning the 4 Test series 3-1. Their last away tour was to Australia in 2020/21, where they staged a remarkable comeback to retain the Border-Gavaskar Trophy after an embarrassing defeat in the 1st Adelaide Test.

“It will be India bowlers vs the New Zealand batsmen in the WTC final. India’s bowling is super strong right now. Look at Shami, Bumrah, Siraj and Ishant. They all are in good touch. Siraj did a wonderful job in Australia. I am sure he will do the job for Virat in the WTC final too,” Gundappa Viswanath signed off.

Indian players Ishant Sharma, left, Ravichandran Ashwin, center, and Mohammed Shami
Indian players. Photo Credit: Getty Images.

Virat Kohli-led India’s batsmen haven’t quite proved themselves yet against the swinging ball and their techniques were exposed on the New Zealand tour in 2020. Meanwhile, the Kiwi pace attack of Tim Southee, Trent Boult, Kyle Jamieson, and Neil Wagner has time and again displayed its ability to extract any purchase from the pitch and would be raring to do the same at Southampton.

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. India has not preferred playing Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja together in an overseas Test.

In England, they have done it only once in 2014 at Manchester without much success. But this time, things might be different. Ravichandran Ashwin has 409 scalps in 78 Tests and Ravindra Jadeja has 220 scalps in 51 Tests.

Henry Nicholls’ sequence of scores in the last three Tests is 174 (vs West Indies), 56, 11, and 157 (vs Pakistan) while Ross Taylor have to find his form back as in 2021, the right-hand batsman has just managed to score 59 runs at an average of 19.7, which is way lower than his career average of 45.6. The 35-year-old BJ Watling will aim to finish his 12-year cricket career on a high.

However, he is going through a rough patch as in three innings in 2021 he has scored 23 runs while in 2020 he could only score 150 runs in seven innings.

David Gower © Getty Images
David Gower © Getty Images
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David Gower Hails Virat Kohli And Kane Williamson Ahead Of WTC final

David Gower reserved high praise for Virat Kohli and Kane Williamson, terming them as ‘two of the greatest batsmen in the world at the moment.’

Former England captain David Gower praised both Virat Kohli and Kane Williamson. David Gower’s comments are of special significance as it comes less than two weeks before India and New Zealand face off in the inaugural World Test Championship final at the Ageas Bowl in Southampton on June 18.

David Gower Credit: PA: Press Association
David Gower Credit: PA: Press Association

David Gower: WTC Final Will Be A Proper Test Match For Both Captains Are Great Batsmen And Teams Are Competitive Enough

It will be a big occasion for both Virat Kohli and Kane Williamson as the duo would walk out to lead India and New Zealand respectively in the WTC final.

“We know there are two of the greatest batsmen in the world at the moment that are going to be involved in Virat and in Kane Williamson. You’ve got two very competitive teams. So, it makes for what I call a proper Test match,” David Gower told Timesofindia.com.

Virat Kohli congratulates Kane Williamson
Virat Kohli congratulates Kane Williamson(Photo by Marty MELVILLE / AFP) (Photo by MARTY MELVILLE/AFP via Getty Images)

David Gower, who represented England in 117 Tests and 114 ODIs, said both India and New Zealand deserved to be in the finals. The former left-hander, who was known for his grace and class while batting in the middle of the crease, said he is expecting a ‘proper Test match’ between two sides of the highest quality.

“First of all, they both deserve to be there. We’ve got a final between two very good teams. Knowing the Southampton ground as I do, I would expect it to be a proper game, a proper Test match. By which I mean that whenever people talk about conditions for Test matches, you want something that gives something for the bowlers, something for a batsman, or something for the spinner. And that’s the template for all matches. And I think the pitch at Southampton will most likely offer that,” said David Gower.

Kane Williamson has scored 7,129 runs from 84 Tests with the best score of 251. In fact, Kane Williamson has a better Test average than Indian counterpart skipper Virat Kohli (53.6). He owns 24 tons and four double-centuries. Virat Kohli has amassed 7,490 runs from 91 Tests averaging 52.38 with the highest of unbeaten 254. He has 27 tons including 7 double tons.

David Gower: Pitch Will Give Both Teams An Opportunity To Use All Aspects Or Facets Aiding Spinners And Pacers

Talking about the Ageas Bowl pitch, David Gower said it will be a surface that will offer something for the batsmen, seamers, and also the spinners as the game progresses.

“I think they’ll try and prepare a pitch which will reflect the status of the game and will give both teams an opportunity to use all aspects or facets. So I think the fact that, for instance, India just won this last series largely (due to) spin. But we know that when conditions are different, there are some very good Indian pace bowlers (as well). So, you’ve got your three or four perfectly good seam bowlers, and if there’s a bit of help they will do a good job,” he said.

NZ pacer Trent Boult (File Photo | AFP)
NZ pacer Trent Boult (File Photo | AFP)

Virat Kohli-led India’s batsmen haven’t quite proved themselves yet against the swinging ball and their techniques were exposed on the New Zealand tour in 2020. Meanwhile, the Kiwi pace attack of Tim Southee, Trent Boult, Kyle Jamieson, and Neil Wagner has time and again displayed its ability to extract any purchase from the pitch and would be raring to do the same at Southampton.

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.

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