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Neil Wagner

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.

Edgbaston is known for its vibrant atmosphere and will be at 70% capacity when England play New Zealand. Photograph: Wired Photos/Shutterstock
Edgbaston is known for its vibrant atmosphere and will be at 70% capacity when England play New Zealand. Photograph: Wired Photos/Shutterstock
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Edgbaston Stadium Will Operate At 80 % Capacity For 3rd ODI Between England, Pakistan

Edgbaston Stadium at Birmingham has been confirmed as part of the UK Government’s Events Research Programme (ERP) and it will operate at 80 per cent capacity for the upcoming 3rd One Day International (ODI) between England and Pakistan.

The third ODI between England and Pakistan at Edgbaston Stadium next month will be permitted an 80 percent capacity crowd, in the latest steps of a government pilot scheme geared towards the return of full stadiums in the wake of the Covid-19 outbreak.

England vs Pakistan Photo: @ICC Photo: @ICC
England vs Pakistan Photo: @ICC Photo: @ICC

 

 

Edgbaston Stadium Will Witness The 3rd ODI Between England And Pakistan

The ODI match, a day-night contest on July 13, is set to be held in front of a 19,000 crowd, which would make it the best-attended cricket match in the UK since the start of the pandemic. Taking place on July 13 (Tuesday), Edgbaston Stadium will be able to accommodate around 19,000 fans, including under 16s, in the stadium bowl and hospitality lounges without social distancing as part of the research study.

Stuart Cain, Chief Executive at Edgbaston, in an official release said: “It is fantastic for sport in the West Midlands that so many cricket fans will be able to enjoy another blockbuster fixture in England versus Pakistan at Edgbaston.”

COVID-19: Edgbaston to host England-Pakistan ODI with 80 percent crowd capacity
COVID-19: Edgbaston to host England-Pakistan ODI with 80 percent crowd capacity

“The recent Test match gave us a fantastic opportunity to build a new model for large-scale sporting events and I am pleased to see elements of this first trial being carried forward for the Pakistan match. Technology played a big part in this and we will again focus on using this as a way of creating a safe environment whilst enhancing Edgbaston’s reputation as one of the best atmospheres in world cricket,” he added.

All attendees for the upcoming ODI will be required to show a negative COVID Lateral Flow Test result, which is necessary for anyone aged 11 years and older, or proof of two vaccinations (first and second dose) at least 14 days before the fixture to secure entry.

England will host Pakistan in a six-match limited-overs series starting July 08. Pakistan will take this tour as a dress rehearsal for the T20 World Cup later this year. The Men in Green will be touring England for a limited-overs series, comprising three ODIs and as many T20Is.

Edgbaston Successfully Hosted The 2nd Test Match Between England And New Zealand Which The Latter Won

Earlier, Edgbaston Stadium had successfully hosted the 2nd Test match between England and New Zealand, which the latter won and accommodated around 60,000 spectators (70 percent capacity) across four days with the same spectator entry requirements.

Edgbaston Stadium : Fans returned to the Edgbaston stands for the New Zealand Test PA Images via Getty Images
Edgbaston Stadium: Fans returned to the Edgbaston stands for the New Zealand Test PA Images via Getty Images

Tom Latham led the New Zealand team to a memorable 1-0 Test series triumph in the two-match series against hosts England, in the absence of injured Kane Williamson, which was their first in the UK since 1999.

Neil Wagner and Matt Henry took three wickets each as England was bundled out for 122 in the second innings, and in the end, New Zealand won the second Test on Day Four comfortably by eight wickets at Edgbaston Stadium, Birmingham. NZ reclaimed the top spot in ICC Test rankings. Later they won the ICC WTC beating India in the final.

New Zealand had a first innings lead of 85 in the 2nd Test despite several of their key members being absent or battling injury. England’s another top order failure in the 2nd innings saw them win the 2nd Test after a draw in the 1st one.

New Zealand 388 (Young 82, Conway 80, Taylor 80, Broad 4-48) and 41 for 2 (Latham 23*) beat England 303 (Lawrence 81*, Burns 81, Boult 4-85) and 122 (Wood 29, Wagner 3-18, Henry 3-36) by eight wickets

Ravindra Jadeja and Ravichandran Ashwin AFP
Ravindra Jadeja and Ravichandran Ashwin AFP
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India Should Never Have Played 2 Spinners On Seaming Pitches, Says Kamran Akmal

Kamran Akmal, Pakistan’s wicketkeeper-batsman feels India got their combination for the World Test Championship (WTC) final against New Zealand wrong by playing 2 spinners Ravindra Jadeja and Ravichandran Ashwin together and paid a heavy price for that.

Kamran Akmal stressed that Team India’s batting had been underwhelming in the run-up to the WTC final. So they ought to have strengthened that department given the seaming conditions that were on offer.

Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja Photo Credit: AP
Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja Photo Credit: AP

Kamran Akmal: One Should Never Play 2 Spinners On Seaming Pitches

India was bowled out for 217 in the first innings of the WTC final and crumbled to 170 in their second essay. Thus, in spite of the fact that two full days of play were lost to rain, New Zealand trounced India by eight wickets on the Reserve 6th Day.

Kamran Akmal said on the YouTube channel ‘My Master Cricket Coach’ that India erred in not picking a playing XI based on the conditions unlike New Zealand while discussing where Team India went wrong in the WTC final.

He explained: “The one big danger for Team India in the WTC final was New Zealand’s bowling. India’s batsmen have not scored big runs, starting with the Australia series. Ajinkya Rahane scored a hundred (in the MCG Test), and then Rishabh Pant came in and scored important runs down the order. In the home series (against England) as well, only Pant and (Ravichandran) Ashwin scored some runs.”

Akmal continued: “If we look at India’s playing XI for the WTC, you should never play two spinners on seaming pitches. New Zealand chose the perfect playing XI according to the overcast conditions. They won even after the entire first day’s play was lost to rain. India should have strengthened their batting. “

Kamran Akmal
Kamran Akmal © Getty Images

“As it is, their batsmen weren’t among the runs. Virat Kohli was not in form; the opening partnership was not working well. India should have analysed all these issues before finalising their playing XI. They played the same combination of two spinners, which they had in Australia and at home, a move that backfired.”

Ravindra Jadeja had an off Test as he scored 15 off 53 balls before dismissed by Trent Boult in the first innings. When it came to bowling, the all-rounder returned figures of 1/20 in 7.2 overs. In the second innings, he could only score 16 off 49 deliveries and only bowled eight of the 45 overs in the second innings, going wicketless and conceding 25 runs.

Unlike India, New Zealand went into this big match with four quicks, Tim Southee, Trent Boult, Kyle Jamieson, Neil Wagner, and Colin de Grandhomme as their pace bowling all-rounder at no. 7.

Kamran Akmal: New Zealand Had An Advantage Since They Had Played England Prior To The Final

Kamran Akmal, however, backed Indian skipper Virat Kohli’s views that the marquee WTC final should be a best-of-three affair. He further suggested that the summit clash should be played at a venue where neither finalist has an undue advantage.

He elaborated in this regard: “New Zealand had an advantage, as they had already played two Tests in England. They were used to the conditions.”

Virat Kohli, Image Source : AP IMAGE
Virat Kohli, Image Source: AP IMAGE

While Kamran Akmal backed the decision to give the India players a break ahead of the gruelling England Tests, he opined that the side could have shortened their three-week break and played some practice games against a few counties. According to the Pakistan player, India needs to get used to seaming conditions in England.

“Team India players deserve a break. They played in the IPL and here in the WTC final. They have been under constant mental stress due to the quarantine. So this break should help to refresh them ahead of the England series. India have a good chance of winning in England, but that will depend on how they play seam-bowling. “

“England will prepare pitches to exploit India’s weakness. So India could have cut short their three-week holiday and instead could have played practice games against some counties to get used to the conditions. Still, I feel India have a great chance to win in England this time.”

India is supposed to play two intra-squad matches in Durham ahead of the five-match Test series against England. They are unlikely to play any warm-up games against any of the county sides, owing to COVID-19 protocols as the England board is unwilling to change its stance.

Ross Taylor in action against India on Day 6 of the WTC final (Twitter/BlackCaps)
Ross Taylor in action against India on Day 6 of the WTC final (Twitter/BlackCaps)
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Kiwis Back Home Will Be Surely Proud Of The Team, Says Ross Taylor

Ross Taylor scored 47 unbeaten runs on the final day to guide New Zealand to a thumping 8-wicket win over India in the historic WTC final Test match at Rose Bowl in Southampton. Ross Taylor said that Kiwis back home will be “surely” proud of the team.

Senior New Zealand batsman Ross Taylor stood firm alongside his captain Kane Williamson and finished off the match with a boundary as New Zealand was crowned the World Test Champions on Wednesday at Southampton’s Rose Bowl.

Ross Taylor:- REUTERS/Ross Setford (image sourced from Otago Daily Times www.odt.co.nz)
Ross Taylor:- REUTERS/Ross Setford (image sourced from Otago Daily Times)

Ross Taylor: Kiwis Back Home Will Be Proud Of The Team

Ross Taylor had walked in after off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin’s double strike to send back openers Tom Latham and Devon Conway back in the pavilion. There was a stretch of 21 dot balls but the Kiwi duo stood undeterred in the middle to stitch an unbeaten 96-run partnership off 173 balls.

India’s bowlers tried to dismiss the duo but with time Ross Taylor and Kane Williamson, the top two run-scorers for New Zealand in Test cricket, passed all the tests with flying colours to bring smiles to the faces of some 50 lakh Kiwis back home.

Kane Williamson and Ross Taylor celebrate after winning the ICC World Test Championship Final. (Reuters Photo)
Kane Williamson and Ross Taylor celebrate after winning the ICC World Test Championship Final. (Reuters Photo)

Reacting after the historic win, the veteran of 108 Tests, said that being crowned the Test champions was the highlight of his career. Ross Taylor, who scored 47 unbeaten runs, added that contributing to the crucial situation is something he will never forget. The 37-year-old also admitted that the WTC final win will also make up for the bitter loss in the 2019 World Cup final against England.

“Still sinking in but it’s been a couple of years coming. Lot of rain but the way the team fought from day one, to be out there in a crucial situation for a little, it’s something I’ll never forget. This would have to be the highlight of my career. At the start of my career, I felt we probably didn’t have the side to do this.”

“But am sure there are a few Kiwis waking up who will be very proud. There was a lot of pressure, it was nice to be standing up to it. 2019 World Cup was something that was very tough for us at the time, but this makes up for that. Over time, it’ll sink in a little more,” Ross Taylor said.

For New Zealand, Ross Taylor is the only player who has scored more than 18000 runs in international cricket. The Kiwi batsman has scored 18007 total runs in all three formats at an average of 43.28. He accounts for 43 centuries and 93 centuries overall.

The right-handed batsman has played 108 Tests, 233 ODIs, and 103 T20Is so far. In 188 Test innings, the 37-year-old has scored 7517 runs at an average of 45.55. He has hit 19 centuries and 35 half-centuries.

Kyle Jamieson Felt Good To Bowl To Virat Kohli During IPL 2021 Net Session As He Dismissed Indian Skipper Both Times

Kyle Jamieson, the other player to star for New Zealand in the summit clash, said that bowling to his RCB captain Virat Kohli was good during the IPL 2021 net sessions, adding that going up against him in the WTC final “awesome”. Notably, he dismissed Indian skipper Virat Kohli on both occasions in the match which finished on the sixth day (Reserve Day) due to consistent rain for the first 5 days.

WTC final: Pleasing to dismiss Virat Kohli, he's 'world-class' batter, says Kyle Jamieson | Photo Credit: AP
WTC final: Pleasing to dismiss Virat Kohli, he’s ‘world-class’ batter, says Kyle Jamieson | Photo Credit: AP

Kyle Jamieson took 7 scalps, the most wickets by a New Zealand bowler in the match but very modestly said that he rides on the back of seniors Trent Boult, Tim Southee, and Neil Wagner.

“To have something of this context in Test cricket is massive, and to be standing up here is surreal. We knew we had a big first hour, and just to see how things panned out. We were hoping they might pan out our way if we put the ball in the right place, but we knew this is a quality Indian team as well.”

“It was nice to get the ball first up and to play a part, I guess. The work that Tim, Trent, Wags do, I just ride in on the back of that. It was good to bowl in the nets to him [Kohli at RCB], and to be here and go up against him over the last six days was awesome.”

The heroes of New Zealand’s victory were Kane Williamson (49 and 52*), Kyle Jamieson (5/31 in the 1st innings), and Tim Southee(4/48 in the 2nd innings). Kyle Jamieson has played only 8 Tests but already has 46 wickets to his name at an extraordinary average of 14.17 with as many as 5 five-wicket hauls.

Ajinkya Rahane. (Photo Source: Getty Images)
Ajinkya Rahane. (Photo Source: Getty Images)
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There Was No Conviction With Ajinkya Rahane’s Pull Shot In WTC Final, Says VVS Laxman

VVS Laxman praised New Zealand skipper Kane Williamson’s captaincy while also highlighted India’s middle-order batsman Ajinkya Rahane’s mistakes. VVS Laxman further recalled a piece of advice from former legendary batsman Sachin Tendulkar to explain one area where Ajinkya Rahane needs to improve upon.

Ajinkya Rahane’s dismissal for 49 on Day 3 of the World Test Championship final against New Zealand in Southampton became a topic of discussion on Sunday. Kane Williamson’s genius captaincy came to the fore in the set-up of Ajinkya Rahane’s dismissal, with the New Zealand skipper setting up the trap for the India batsman after a discussion with Kiwi speedster Neil Wagner.

India's Ajinkya Rahane walks off the field after being dismissed by New Zealand's Neil Wagner(AP)
India’s Ajinkya Rahane walks off the field after being dismissed by New Zealand’s Neil Wagner(AP)

VVS Laxman On Ajinkya Rahane’s Pull Shot Off Neil Wagner In WTC Final

Ajinkya Rahane is known to be a compulsive hooker of the ball. He never shies away from playing the short ball whenever the ball is pitched short, which at times brings about his downfall as it did on Sunday in the WTC final. It was a perfect execution of the field set-up by Kane Williamson and perfect execution of a short one from Neil Wagner that sent back Ajinkya Rahane for 49.

Speaking on Star Sports during Lunch, former India cricketer VVS Laxman praised Kane Williamson’s captaincy while also highlighted Ajinkya Rahane’s mistakes.

“I am always impressed with Kane Williamson’s captaincy. I thought that Ajinkya Rahane was getting his eye in, he was batting much better, he looked more assured on the crease as compared to yesterday. But this is something that has become a pattern with Ajinkya Rahane’s batting. It was the same game plan that New Zealand used against him in Christchurch. This is something he requires to understand,” Laxman said.

VVS Laxman
VVS Laxman

“You talked about the planning between Neil Wagner and Kane Williamson. There was no fielder there on the fifth delivery, the one before he got out. And then a fielder was placed there and also near the backward short-leg.

“It forced Ajinkya Rahane to play half-hearted pull short. There was no conviction in that pull short and this would be something Ajinkya Rahane will be disappointed with,” Laxman added.

Ajinkya Rahane had done all the hard work in the first hour of the morning session on the third day and just when he was looking set for a big one, the right-hander played a half-cock pull shot to a Neil Wagner bouncer-short of a good length delivery and provided a simple catch to Tom Latham at square-leg. Ajinkya Rahane fell one run short of his 24th Test fifty.

VVS Laxman: Sachin Tendulkar Advised To Know Where Off Stump Is And How To Leave Or Defend The Bouncers

VVS Laxman further recalled a piece of advice from former legendary batsman Sachin Tendulkar to explain one area where Ajinkya Rahane needs to improve upon.

“I remember when I started my cricketing career, the great Sachin Tendulkar advised me that there are two areas that you have to be comfortable if you have to be successful. Number One is you know where your off stump is, you know how to play the ball when it is pitched in the corridor of uncertainty. And you also should know how to leave or defend the bouncers,” Laxman further said.

Sachin Tendulkar Photograph: Niklas Halle’n/AFP/Getty Images
Sachin Tendulkar
Photograph: Niklas Halle’n/AFP/Getty Images

“Because if the opposition comes to know that you are a compulsive pull shot or hook shot player, they will bowl a barrage of bouncers at you and have the field set to make you play that shot. And it is always going to be a low percentage shot,” he signed off.

India was bowled out for 217 with Kiwi pacer Kyle Jamieson picking a five-wicket haul in the match. New Zealand then lost 2 wickets before stumps on Day 3 and ended with 101/2 with opener Tom Latham and half centurion Devon Conway back in the pavilion.

Brief Scores: India 217 all out (Ajinkya Rahane 49, Virat Kohli 44, Kyle Jamieson 5-31); New Zealand 101/2 (Devon Conway 54, Kane Williamson 12*, Ishant Sharma 1-19).

Shubman Gill Photo Credit: (BCCI)
Shubman Gill Photo Credit: (BCCI)
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WTC Final 2021: Sunil Gavaskar Praised Shubman Gill’s Temperament

Sunil Gavaskar, the former legendary opening batsman has predicted that young batsman Shubman Gill will score multiple Test centuries for India.

Indian opening batsman Shubman Gill looked solid while he lasted on Day 2 of the World Test Championship match against New Zealand after captain Kane Williamson elected to bowl first winning the toss. The right-hander stitched a solid partnership with Rohit Sharma, as both the openers added 62 runs for the first wicket.

Shubman Gill (Express photo: Jasbir Malhi)
Shubman Gill (Express photo: Jasbir Malhi)

Sunil Gavaskar: Shubman Gill Has The Temperament To Become A Great Player

Shubman Gill had a promising start to his innings in the WTC final, but missed out on a big one, getting dismissed by fast bowler Neil Wagner for 28. However, his innings received a lot of praise from former India captain Sunil Gavaskar, who lauded his temperament from the commentary box.

“He has the temperament to become a great player,” Gavaskar in the commentary box during Gill’s innings, which comprised three fours.

File image of former India captain Sunil Gavaskar | AFP
File image of former India captain Sunil Gavaskar | AFP

Shubman Gill played a promising knock of 28 in swinging and overcast conditions and built a partnership of 62 with Rohit Sharma. The openers lasted more than 20 overs against the likes of Kyle Jamieson, Tim Southee, Trent Boult, and Colin de Grandhome. After Kyle Jamieson struck first blood to dismiss Rohit Sharma, Shubman Gill perished soon after in Neil Wagner’s third ball of his opening spell.

Sunil Gavaskar: Shubman Gill Needs To Score His First Test Ton And More Will Follow

The India batting legend predicted that Shubman Gill will score multiple centuries for India. Shubman Gill has scored three half-centuries in his short Test career so far with a best of 91 against Australia in Brisbane earlier this year, with Sunil Gavaskar adding that the youngster just needs to clear the hurdle of getting his first Test ton.

“The first hundred is always the toughest one because that journey from scoring a half-century to reaching three figures is not that easy,” Sunil Gavaskar said.

Shubman Gill, WTC Final, Image: PTI
Shubman Gill, WTC Final, Image: PTI

“Batsmen tend to feel settled somewhere around 70-80 run mark and start taking the bowlers on and lose their wicket in that way. He just needs to get his first hundred and then a lot more will follow.”

The 21-year-old was one of the chief architects of India’s epic Test series win in Down Under, in what was his debut outing. He managed 259 runs averaging 51.8 in 3 Tests after debuting in the Melbourne Test. Shubman Gill hit a counter-attacking 91 in the second innings of the fourth and final Test in Brisbane, something that set up India’s epic chase of 328 at the Gabba en route to their 2-1 series triumph.

Batting coach Vikram Rathour- PTI
Batting coach Vikram Rathour- PTI
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WTC Final 2021: 250-Plus Will Be A Reasonably Good Total, Says Vikram Rathour

Vikram Rathour on Saturday picked a total that he feels will put India in a fighting position against New Zealand in the World Test Championship final. India’s batsmen managed to fight off a damp pitch, overcast conditions, and a lethal fast bowling unit on Day 2 of the World Test Championship final at the Ageas Bowl against New Zealand.

Rohit Sharma and Shubman Gill batted cautiously at the top to give India a solid start in Southampton, but they lost three quick wickets after the opening stand. However, captain Virat Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane struck an unbeaten 58-run partnership for the fourth wicket to navigate the team to 146/3 at the end of the day’s play on Saturday.

Virat Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane walk off the field after stumps on Day 2. (Getty Images)
Virat Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane walk off the field after stumps on Day 2. (Getty Images)

Vikram Rathour: 250 Plus Score Will Be A Reasonable Score In Prevailing Conditions

Virat Kohli is batting on 44 while Ajinkya Rahane remains unbeaten on 29 as India will look to continue to build on the solid foundation laid on Day 2. Vikram Rathour, batting coach on Saturday picked a total that he feels will put India in a fighting position against New Zealand in the WTC final, saying that a first innings score of 250-plus will be a good total keeping the prevailing conditions in mind.

“We would like to score as many runs as possible but 250 plus will be a reasonable score in these conditions,” Rathour said at the day-end press conference.

The batting coach Vikram Rathour lauded openers Shubman Gill and Rohit Sharma for seeing off the new ball in an admirable manner as they played positively to add 62 runs.

Asked if taking stance outside the crease was to counter swing or play more attacking shots, Vikram Rathour said, “Batting is about scoring runs. Rohit and Gill showed a lot of intent and looked to score wherever they can. Hats off to Virat and Rahane for the manner in which they batted but a lot of credit should also be given to the openers.”

Vikram-Rathour-photo
Vikram-Rathour-photo

New Zealand started poorly as they bowled some poor deliveries and they were punished. Tim Southee had a tough day with the ball as he just could not find the lines and lengths, which he did seem to find, towards the fag end of the day. Kyle Jamieson was the star as he bowled probing lines and lengths and did not give much away. Neil Wagner was also at his best while Trent Boult came back well after Lunch.

India managed to get off to a good start courtesy of Rohit Sharma and Shubman Gill. They put the loose balls away and were looking good as they raised a 50 plus run stand before Rohit Sharma departed. Shubman Gill fell soon after and Cheteshwar Pujara was soon dismissed after Lunch. Since then Virat Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane have looked solid and have managed to stay unbeaten till Stumps on Day 2.

Vikram Rathour: New Zealand Pacers Hit Good Areas During The 2nd Session

The former India opener feels that once the Dukes’ ball got a tad older, it started swinging more, and hence scoring runs became a bit difficult than what it was when the openers were batting.

“I think when the ball got a bit older, it started swinging more. Also, the New Zealand pacers hit good areas during the second session,” he said.

Kyle Jamieson (File Photo) | AP
Kyle Jamieson (File Photo) | AP

Vikram Rathour also brushed aside assertions that Cheteshwar Pujara is facing some technical problems as he has now been hit at least four times on the helmet in recent Test matches.

“We are not really concerned and he is a good player. I don’t think the pace is an issue with him. Till he batted, he looked solid and he has a role to play in the team. Today also, he played 50 oddballs. He just needs to convert those starts. It’s going to happen very soon,” Vikram Rathour said.

India’s drought of first wicket’s 60-plus stand in England in more than 10 years ended. India lost their first wicket for 62 runs on board in 20.1 overs as Rohit Sharma was dismissed for 34 off 68. Kyle Jamieson has caused uncertainty by going wide on the crease, and the outswing takes the edge for a lovely low catch at third slip by Tim Southee.

Neil Wagner swung the first ball back into Shubman Gill, and two balls later he bowled the same length, making him push at the ball, which held its line this time and took the edge as India lost their second wicket on 63 in 24.3 overs with Shubman Gill being dismissed after scoring 28 off 64.

Virat Kohli, Image Source : AP IMAGE
Virat Kohli, Image Source : AP IMAGE
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Virat Kohli Puts All Discussions Pertaining To The Playing 11 To Rest As He Names 2 Spinners

Virat Kohli, Indian skipper put all the discussions pertaining to the playing XI to rest when he announced the playing XI with Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin, Mohammed Shami, Ishant Sharma, and Jasprit Bumrah. Ahead of the first day’s play, the Indian team announced their playing XI.

There was a lot of talk about the combination with which India would go in. Some had suggested that India might play four seamers and one spinner, while others suggested that Mohammad Siraj might just get the nod ahead of veteran pacers Mohammad Shami or Ishant Sharma. New Zealand decided to go into the final without even a single frontline spinner.

Virat Kohli
Virat Kohli. (Photo Source: Getty Images)

Virat Kohli: The Balance Is Such, India Prepare For Any Conditions

After the first day got washed out due to rain without even the toss happening, the much-awaited ICC World Test Championship final between India and New Zealand got underway in Southampton on Saturday, June 19, 2021.  However, considering the overcast conditions and the lack of sunshine, it was speculated that the team might choose to drop a spinner. They could have done that because the toss didn’t happen on day one.

Nevertheless, captain Virat Kohli at the toss on Saturday revealed that he has decided to stick to the same combination without any tinkering, emphasizing the balance which Ravindra Jadeja and Ravichandran Ashwin bring to the table. New Zealand skipper Kane Williamson won the toss and elected to field first on a very overcast day in Southampton.

Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja Photo Credit: AP
Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja Photo Credit: AP

“We would’ve probably bowled first as well. But runs on the board have been our strength. In a big final, runs on the board, however many, are an advantage. As you saw the makeup of our side, the balance is such that we prepare for any conditions. We’ve been performing really well in Test cricket. For us this is just a Test match we have to be professional in, have to follow our processes,” Virat Kohli said at the toss.

The confidence of playing with the two spinners in Southampton clearly comes after how well the duo of Ravindra Jadeja and Ravichandran Ashwin have batted in recent times while also being effective with the ball even in overseas conditions. Unlike India, New Zealand went into this big match with four quicks, Tim Southee, Trent Boult, Kyle Jamieson, Neil Wagner, and Colin de Grandhomme as their all-rounder at no. 7.

ICC is promoting the inaugural World Test Championship final as the ‘Ultimate Test’, but Virat Kohli has said that the result of the one-off match against New Zealand cannot decide which is the “best” team in the format.

Rohit Sharma And Shubman Gill Dismissed On Day 2 Of The WTC Final

India’s drought of first wicket’s 60-plus stand in England in more than 10 years ends. India loses their first wicket for 62 runs on board in 20.1 overs as Rohit Sharma was dismissed for 34 off 68. Kyle Jamieson has caused uncertainty by going wide on the crease, and the outswing takes the edge for a lovely low catch at third slip by Tim Southee.

Rohit Sharma, Shubman Gill | Photo Credit: AP
Rohit Sharma, Shubman Gill | Photo Credit: AP

Neil Wagner swung the first ball back into Shubman Gill, and two balls later he bowled the same length, making him push at the ball, which held its line this time and took the edge as India is 63 for 2 in 24.3 overs with Shubman Gill being dismissed after scoring 28 off 64.

Virat Kohli, Image Source : AP IMAGE
Virat Kohli, Image Source : AP IMAGE
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Virat Kohli Opens Up On New Zealand Being Termed As “Nice Guys”

Virat Kohli is expecting a high-quality Test match between the top two sides in the rankings, although he has an issue with New Zealand being framed as ‘the nice guys’ of world cricket.

India has a bowling attack more than capable of taking 20 wickets anywhere in the world, with the quintet of pacers Ishant Sharma, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammad Shami, and spinners Ravichandran Ashwin, and Ravindra Jadeja among the best on the planet.

Mohammed Shami, Jasprit Bumrah, and Ishant Sharma with Virat Kohli
Mohammed Shami, Jasprit Bumrah, and Ishant Sharma with Virat Kohli (Source: AP)

Virat Kohli Don’t Think Any Other Team Unlike New Zealand Has Bad Guys

New Zealand is the only team to beat India in the WTC. 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.

“I really don’t understand this term that was just used – I don’t think any other team has ‘bad guys’ in their team,” said Kohli.

Tim Southee Source Black Caps Twitter
Tim Southee Source Black Caps Twitter

“We get along very well off the field but when you step across the line, it’s business at the end of the day and you need to deal with it accordingly. It’s pretty serious stuff out there, it’s not something that is fun and games and played in a very low voltage environment.

“This is a huge game, a huge Test match and we are certainly looking forward to the opportunity that we have been waiting for a few years now.”

“In Test cricket we have performed well and deserve to be on that field playing the brand of cricket we’ve played in the past few years. For us as a team, we have been on a quest for excellence for a while now and we will continue to be on that path regardless of what happens in this game.”

India had deployed both their spinners Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja in the final XI at the Ageas Bowl. However, after much debate, Indian team management has gone with Ishant Sharma over Mohammed Siraj as the third seamer along with Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Shami in the final playing XI.

The 32-year-old veteran pacer has been selected for his experience of playing in England and his effectiveness against left-handed batsmen. Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Shami will be the other two-seamers in the star-studded bowling attack.

New Zealand on the other hand, is yet to finalize their squad even though captain Kane Williamson said that everybody is fit and available for selection. The Kiwis also have an impressive seam-bowling attack at their disposal and will have to leave out at least one of Trent Boult, Tim Southee, Kyle Jamieson, Neil Wagner, and Matt Henry.

Virat Kohli Is Yet To Deliver The Goods In Tests In 2021

The Indian skipper has not had the best run with the willow in 2021 in Tests. In the 6 innings that he has played in the whites this year, Virat Kohli has scored only 172 runs and has scored his runs at an average of 28.67.

India's captain Virat Kohli celebrates his century (100 runs) during the second day of the second Test cricket match of a two-match series between India and Bangladesh at the Eden Gardens cricket stadium in Kolkata on November 23, 2019.
Virat Kohli celebrates his century during India and Bangladesh Test at the Eden Gardens on November 23, 2019. (Photo by Dibyangshu SARKAR / AFP)

Also, since November 2019, a three-figure score has eluded Virat Kohli in the Test format as well. His last ton came in the first-ever day-night Test between India and Bangladesh at Kolkata.

India has announced their playing XI ahead of the WTC Final, and both Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja will be a part of the playing XI for the WTC summit clash against the Kiwis. New Zealand will enter this monumental clash on the back of a series victory against England.

Sourav Ganguly. (Photo Source: Twitter)
Sourav Ganguly. (Photo Source: Twitter)
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India Have Always Won Matches Batting First Like Leeds In 2002 Or South Africa In 2018: Sourav Ganguly

Sourav Ganguly has the answer to what India preferably would want to do if they win the toss in the crucial final of the ICC World Test Championship against New Zealand.

Former India captain and present BCCI chief Sourav Ganguly suggested that India should bat first even if the conditions are overcast because that has worked well for the team on overseas tours.

Sourav Ganguly- Twitter
Sourav Ganguly- Twitter

Sourav Ganguly: India Have Always Won Matches Batting First Like Leeds In 2002 Or South Africa In 2018

As India gear up to take on Kane Williamson’s New Zealand at the Ageas Bowl, Sourav Ganguly is hopeful that Virat Kohli & Co. will bring the Test Mace home. At the same time, he also suggested that it won’t be an easy task, given the quality and depth of the Black Caps.

While speaking to India Today, Ganguly said, “If you dig into the record books and see India’s best overseas performances (save 2021 Australia), we have always won matches when we have batted first. It’s about a choice whether you want to face the pressure first up in adverse conditions or wait for the fourth innings.”

 Sourav Ganguly said that the role of openers Rohit Sharma and Shubman Gill will be crucial for India in England (AFP Photo)
Sourav Ganguly said that the role of openers Rohit Sharma and Shubman Gill will be crucial for India in England (AFP Photo)

“Look at Leeds in 2002 or 2018 South Africa, we batted first in bowling friendly conditions, soaked in the initial pressure, put runs on the board and that’s how we won those games. Even Mark Taylor or Steve Waugh’s Australian teams rarely fielded even in seaming conditions. Maybe occasionally when the wicket used to be damp,” said Ganguly.

Sourav Ganguly, who had a staggering average of 65.35 from 9 Tests in England, also said that India’s fortunes will depend a lot on how India’s openers Rohit Sharma and Shubman Gill perform in the upcoming Tests.

Sourav Ganguly: Opening Is A Very Important Aspect When India Tours Abroad So The England Tour Will Be Crucial For Openers Rohit Sharma And Shubman Gill

Sourav Ganguly further opined that it will be a big responsibility for openers Rohit Sharma and Shubman Gill who would be required to blunt the new ball attack of New Zealand in the WTC Final and then England in the subsequent 5 match Test series.

“Opening becomes a very important aspect when you tour abroad. When we toured Australia, England, and Pakistan, we played well because we had openers like Virender Sehwag and Aakash Chopra, who used to play out the new ball and make it old. When your middle-order batsmen come out to bat at 30 for 2 then it becomes really difficult for a side to compete,” Sourav Ganguly said.

Rohit Sharma, Shubman Gill | Photo Credit: AP
Rohit Sharma, Shubman Gill | Photo Credit: AP
“If they are able to do that then they will be able to set the game for the batsmen coming after them like Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane, and India’s best batsman on current form Rishabh Pant,” he added.
New Zealand is the only team to beat India in the WTC. 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.
Indian opener Rohit Sharma has amassed 1030 runs in 11 Tests averaging 64.37 in the WTC cycle of 2019-21. Another opener Shubman Gill has played only 7 Tests managing 378 runs averaging 34.36 with 3 fifties.
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