Former England skipper Michael Vaughan feels New Zealand are the clear favourites to win the upcoming World Test Championship (WTC) final against India. He pointed out that English conditions and the use of Duke balls would tilt the balance in the Blackcaps’ favour. The WTC final will be played from June 18-22 in Southampton’s Ageas Bowl Stadium.
New Zealand have already arrived in the UK and are in quarantine, preparing for the two-match Test series against England, starting June 2. The 46-year-old believes the two Tests will give the Kiwis a big edge going into the WTC final as India will have no games under their belt before the marquee clash.
“New Zealand (will win). English conditions, the Duke ball, and India on the back of a busy schedule… they’ll arrive pretty much a week before and go straight into it, [and] New Zealand have two test matches, you could argue warmups against England to get them prepared for the final. So it’s quite an obvious one for me,” he said on Spark Sport.
“New Zealand will be better prepared and they’ll have more of a group of players who’ve played more cricket with the red ball, particularly the Duke ball here in the UK. New Zealand, all the way,” Michael Vaughan added.
Vaughan feels the current New Zealand side, under the leadership of skipper Kane Williamson, is the best Test team in the nation’s history. He also added that there weren’t too many great Kiwi teams in the past. He further stated that Williamson and Co. can sustain pressure on the opposition throughout a Test match, making them a tough side.
“It’s not difficult, you haven’t had many great teams. You’ve had great players, you go back to the 80s, Richard Hadlee and Martin Crowe were up there with the greatest to have ever played test match cricket.
“As a team, Brendon McCullum’s team were exciting and vibrant but I never felt they were consistent because they let the opposition in by playing so aggressively,” the former England skipper said.
“Under Kane Williamson, you’ve started to play high class, disciplined Test match cricket over long periods, and real quality teams do it over day one to five. And it takes until the end of day five to wear a team down to get that win, this is what this New Zealand side can do,” he concluded.