Days ahead of the much-awaited inaugural ICC World Test Championship final, former India cricketer Sanjay Manjrekar feels the Kane Williamson-led side will have the advantage due to the conditions at Southampton – which is somewhat similar to New Zealand. Also Read - Southampton Weather Forecast June 18, Friday, WTC Final - India vs New Zealand: Rain Likely to Play Spoilsport on Day 1 at Ageas Bowl
In his coloumn on Hindustan Times, Manjrekar reckoned with Cheteshwar Pujara playing the frontline warrior trying to keep the enemy at bay, India skipper Virat Kohli could be the gamechanger. Also Read - Format of WTC final Can be Changed in Future: Tim Southee
“Pujara again will be India’s brave soldier on the frontlines trying to keep the enemy at bay; he remains India’s ‘warranty’ if things start falling apart while Virat will be India’s game changer with the bat,” Manjrekar wrote. Also Read - WTC 2021: India's Final Clash
Pointing out that Kohli does not enjoy slow and seaming conditions, Manjrekar also said that Tests get the best out of the Indian captain.
“Tests just seem to get the best out of him, so there is no reason to expect anything different. Virat too does not enjoy the slow, seaming conditions of the NZ kind but he knows England would be a better version of what he encountered a year ago in NZ,” Manjrekar on conditions Kohli will have to face.
Going by his current form, Manjrekar felt after Kohli, Rishabh Pant will be India’s gamechanger No 2. Manjrekar said that even if NZ think they are through with the Indian batting, there is Pant waiting.
“Game changer No. 2 with the bat will be Rishabh Pant. The number that he bats at, if NZ think they are through with the Indian batting after picking the top 5 they would have made the biggest mistake that could cost them the game. Pant at No.6 in Tests is a massive threat with the ability to change the course of a match. He has done this twice already in what is still a nascent Test career,” he wrote.
The WTC final is scheduled to start on June 18.