The Virat Kohli-led side is all set to play the World Test Championship final against New Zealand at the Ageas Bowl in Southampton from June 18-22. The Indian team has reached the venue and checked into Hilton at The Ageas Bowl hotel where they will undergo quarantine.
Meanwhile, the Kiwis are already in England and are currently playing two Test matches against the hosts. However, Kohli isn't too concerned about the limited preparation time that his team will get for the WTC final as he believes that it has the requisite understanding of conditions from its past experience of playing in England.
Several former cricketers have backed New Zealand to start as favourites going into the WTC final as they will get accustomed to the English conditions after playing two Test matches prior to it. Also, the English conditions are not entirely different from that in New Zealand, which gives the Kiwis an edge over India.
While Scott Styris feels New Zealand will win the summit clash, former India pacer Ajit Agarkar said it is difficult to pick one team, but the Kiwis will start as favourites. "I think New Zealand will win and they will win by 6 wickets. I think Devon Conway is going to be the highest run-scorer and Trent Boult will get the most wickets," Styris said on Star Sports show Cricket Connected. "It's a difficult one to pick -- who is going to win it. I think New Zealand might just start favourites in this one," said Agarkar. Meanwhile, former Australian pacer Brett Lee thinks the two sides are "pretty evenly matched", however, he adds the experience of New Zealand because they have bowled in conditions which are similar back home will help them.
5 Players to watch out for in India vs New Zealand clash:
1. Virat Kohli:
Skipper Virat Kohli is the backbone of India's batting lineup. If he gets going, there is no stopping his team from lifting the coveted trophy. The right-handed batsman also has plenty of experience playing in the English conditions. After having a horrible season in 2014, Kohli made the necessary changes to his technique and bounced back in 2018. In the WTC final, Kohli's batting will definitely be tested against the likes of Tim Southee and Trent Boult.
2. Rishabh Pant:
Wicketkeeper-batsman Rishabh Pant is India's biggest asset and he has proved this time and again over the last few months. The 23-year-old was sublime against Australia (in Australia) and England (in India) in the recently held Test series. He has also worked extremely hard on his fitness and his wicketkeeping skills. Pant's experience of playing in English conditions will surely be an added advantage.
3. Jasprit Bumrah:
Jasprit Bumrah has become skipper Virat Kohli's go-to bowler ever since his arrival in international cricket back in 2018. Bumrah's ability to pick up wickets at regular intervals and break partnerships will be a big threat to the New Zealand batsmen. Along with Ishant Sharma and Mohammad Shami, India's pace battery has improved leaps and bounds and will certainly help the team in the WTC final.
4. Kane Williamson:
Just like Virat Kohli is vital to India's prospects in the WTC final, New Zealand captain Kane Williamson is to his team. The mild-mannered right-handed batsman has a flawless technique and is known to spend long hours at the crease. India must be vary of his ability to wear out the opposition bowlers and post huge scores.
5. Trent Boult:
Trent Boult will pose the biggest threat to India's chances in the WTC final. The left-arm bowler is known to demolish the top order of the opposition with his impeccable swing bowling. Also, the Indian batsmen have historically struggled facing left-arm bowlers. Boult will be ably assisted by Tim Southee and Kyle Jamieson. Besides, the English conditions will also favour them.