West Indies legend Curtly Ambrose feels that India will start as slight favorites going into the World Test Championship (WTC) final against New Zealand. He, however, added that the Black Caps are capable of upsetting the best since they are a well-knit unit.
India and New Zealand will meet in the much-hyped WTC final in Southampton from June 18 to 22. While India have begun training for the big Test, the Kiwis are currently facing England in the second Test at Edgbaston.
On the Curtly & Karishma Show, Ambrose analyzed the chances of the two teams that will battle it out in the WTC final. Pointing to New Zealand’s impressive performance against England during the first Test at Lord’s which ended in a draw, the former Windies fast bowler said:
“In the first Test match against England that was drawn, you could see they (the Kiwis) really played well as a team. It’s not going to be an easy Test match, this World Test Championship final (WTC). India, I believe, may start as favorites. But you can never discard New Zealand. They have a knack for upsetting the big teams.”
Curtly Ambrose added:
“Cricket is played on the field of play, not on paper. If you don’t go out in the middle and get the job done, then it won’t work. New Zealand have a knack for turning up and causing some headaches for teams all over the world. They look forward to a serious challenge. I am looking forward to that clash, to be quite honest."
Ambrose noted that New Zealand won't be an easy side to play against even if they don't have as many stars in their team as India. He said:
“New Zealand won’t be an easy pushover for India. India has got a fantastic team, we all know that. New Zealand don’t have too many big stars in their line-up. But they always find a way to win because they have played together so long and believe in their ability. That is the difference.”
Curtly Ambrose comments on New Zealand captain Kane Williamson missing the WTC final
New Zealand were dealt a blow ahead of the Edgbaston Test as skipper Kane Williamson was ruled out due to an elbow injury. According to Ambrose, the match could have been a good opportunity for Williamson to get some valuable match practice ahead of the WTC final.
“It is sad for Kane Williamson because this is the last Test match before the World Test Championship (WTC) begins shortly. He would have loved to have played to get some practice. Unfortunately, he can’t," said Ambrose.
"But he is a quality player. So I am sure once his elbow is much better, he will go to the nets, probably do extra work and prepare himself for the World Test Championship," Ambrose added.
New Zealand dominated the opening day of the Edgbaston Test against England. Bowling first after losing the toss, they restricted the hosts to 258 for 7 at stumps.