'Indian batters will be tested in Southampton', says Mike Hesson
Former New Zealand coach Mike Hesson believes the battle between Indian batsmen and New Zealand's seamers will be crucial in deciding the winner of the World Test Championship final. Over the years, the Indian batters have been perturbed by the swinging deliveries. They will certainly be tested against the NZ pace attack, which is bolstered by Trent Boult and Tim Southee. Here is more.
Hesson gave his views on the same. "I am keen to see how India's top-order fares against the swinging ball. The ball does a bit in Southampton and as the cross breeze comes into play, it can be a challenge for the batsmen. How the Indian top-order plays the New Zealand pacers could decide the outcome," Hesson told The Times of India.
The Rose Bowl in Southampton, which will host the WTC final, provides assistance to fast bowlers. They are able to swing the ball on the wicket here due to the typical cross breeze. Notably, four of the top five wicket-takers at this venue are fast bowlers. James Anderson leads the tally and is followed by Moeen Ali, Stuart Broad, Shannon Gabriel, and Ben Stokes.
Hesson also feels the WTC final will be a test of captaincy for both Virat Kohli and Kane Williamson. "Both are different in their style of captaincy. Kane is more of a slow-burn in the sense that he likes to put pressure over a period of time. Virat is constantly looking for ways to put his side in the driver's seat," added Hesson.
At the moment, Kohli is India's most successful Test captain. Under him, India have won 36 of 60 Tests (drawn 10). Kohli is presently tied with legend Clive Lloyd in terms of Test wins (36). Meanwhile, Williamson has led New Zealand to 21 wins in 35 Tests. Notably, both Kohli and Williamson have the same win percentage as captains in Tests (60).
India last won an away Test against New Zealand in 2009. In fact, they have beaten the Kiwis only once since 1976 away from home (in Tests). Notably, New Zealand swept India 2-0 in the 2019/20 series.
Team India has already reached the UK to take part in the WTC final. They are currently serving their mandatory quarantine in The Rose Bowl's on-site hotel. Meanwhile, the Kiwis are engaged in the first Test of two-match series against England at Lord's. They will move to Birmingham for the second Test (June 10-14) before facing India in the summit clash.