Indian team

Virat Kohli-led India and Kane Williamson’s New Zealand will square off against each other in the inaugural World Test Championship (WTC) final at the Rose Bowl in Southampton from June 18-22.

Ahead of the marquee fixture, several former cricketers and experts of the game are busy sharing their predictions and opining on the two sides. Former Indian batsman Sanjay Manjrekar has revealed what will be the key for India in the English conditions.

“When in England, all the old gospels of batting resurface—play close to the body, leave that ball outside off, etc. Cricketing conditions in England are similar to those in New Zealand. New Zealand, well, that’s India’s real discomfort zone as was evident in how India lost the last Test series there.

“The highest score India could get in the three Tests was 242. To be fair, New Zealand themselves struggled but they were a little better than India in batting and a great distance better in bowling,” Sanjay Manjrekar wrote in his column for the Hindustan Times.

Not surprisingly, the 55-year-old feels that more than India’s envious bowling line-up, the batsmen will have to step up to complement their bowlers’ efforts in order to beat the Blackcaps.

“Virat will be India’s game-changer with the bat. 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,” he added.

Since the conditions in England are pretty similar to the ones on offer in New Zealand, Virat and his men will surely be at some disadvantage going into the summit clash. Moreover, the Kiwis are due to play a two-match Test series against England, prior to the marquee clash.

Nonetheless, the No. 1-ranked Indian side has defied all odds on their road to the final and, thus, will remain confident taking on the Kiwis on what promises to be an interesting contest between the two heavyweights.

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