While many cricket pundits feel the contest is evenly balanced, Australia Test skipper Tim Paine reckons India will “pretty comfortably” win the inaugural World Test Championship (WTC) final against New Zealand. The much-awaited match is slated to begin on June 18 at the Ageas Bowl in Southampton.
“My prediction is, India will win pretty comfortably if they play anywhere near their best,” stuff.co.nz quoted Paine as saying.
In January, India had defeated Paine-led Australia by three wickets against all odds in the final Test at The Gabba to take the series 2-1.
Meanwhile, England lost the two-match Test series against New Zealand 0-1 after facing a defeat at the hands of the Kiwis in the second Test by eight wickets at Edgbaston on Sunday.
Paine praised the Kiwis but didn’t shy away from admitting that it was not the English side that usually takes the field against Australia in Ashes.
“I think New Zealand are a good team, for one, and secondly if we’re being realistic I think it’s a really different team that we saw England out on the field to what we’re probably going to see in the Ashes… keeping it in perspective it certainly wasn’t England’s strongest team,” he said.
Meanwhile, New Zealand on Tuesday confirmed their 15-man squad for the inaugural WTC final. Ajaz Patel has been included as the specialist spinner in the New Zealand squad.
Colin de Grandhomme the all-rounder, Will Young the specialist batting cover and Tom Blundell, the backup wicket-keeper have also been named in the squad.
New Zealand WTC final squad: Tom Latham, Devon Conway, Kane Williamson, Ross Taylor, Henry Nicholls, Will Young, BJ Watling, Tom Blundell, Colin de Grandhomme, Kyle Jamieson, Tim Southee, Neil Wagner, Ajaz Patel, Trent Boult, Matt Henry.