New Zealand’s journey to the World Test Championship Final might not be as heisty like India’s, but it’s equally inspirational. They have been through many tough challenges. Some easy wins at their home, in the conditions they are well suited for helped them reach this far.
Kiwis have fetched 420 points in 5 test series. They have won all their home series, dominating each one of them. Although the away series were challenging, they managed to draw one in Sri Lanka but lost against the Aussies. The talent pool in New Zealand, as compared to their population. They were ranked 5th in 2015 in World Test rankings. A long way covered in the past 6 years.
Only some in the world would have bet on the Black Caps reaching the final. Steve Smith and David Warner returned for Australia. Their addition made Aussies the favourite to reach the final of the World Test Championship after India. Even England fared good. England played the most number of test matches. They dominated in their home and away as well. Defeating Sri Lanka in the sub continent. Depite losing against India, they gave them a tough fight.
New Zealand dominated against every team when they welcomed them in their fort. West Indies, Pakistan and India succumbed to their strength and bowling attack
The Black Caps have an injury worry ahead of World Test Championship Final. Kane Williamson has an irritation in his left elbow. BJ Watling, the man retiring, has a sore back. Even Mitchel Santner is down. Ignoring this injuries, the probable Playing Xi, with ever player from the squad fit and running would look like this.
Tom Latham is the vice captain of the New Zealand test team. He is a sure starter in the playing XI. His performance at the top has been quite amazing. He is leading New Zealand in the second test match againsta England with the absence of Kane Williamson. The southpaw has aggregated 680 runs at an average of 40 in 11 test matches in the World Test Championship cycle. His most memorable knock in this WTC cycle came against Pakistan when he scored 157 runs.
The limited over specialist for New Zealand made his test debut against England in the first test match of the series at Lord’s. He is all set to replace Tom Blundel in the World test Championship Final. The second Kiwi after Michael Sinclair to hit a double century on debut. He scored 80 runs against England in the first innings of the second test match. He is set to open the innings with Tom Latham at the big stage.
Kane, the skipper, has been the premium batsman for New Zealand. He has scored 817 runs at an average of 58,35 in 9 test matches. 3 centuries and double century in the last summer against Pakistan and West Indies. He played a crucial role in defeating India when the Kohli-led team toured New Zealand.
The most experienced man in the side. He will play a huge role in the middle order against India’s destructive pace and spin attack. Ross plays spin better than his team mates and partenering with Kane in the middle will just add to India’s problems. 469 runs at 31/26 average in 17 test innings is a commendable stat.
The third left hander for New Zealand in their top five. Nicholls reads the ball well and willbe well suited to perform at number five against the moving ball. Nicholls plays the ball late and handles spin rather comfortably. His biggest nemesis would be Ravichandran Ashwin. He has tallied 585 runs at an average of 41.78 in 10 test matches.
The playing XI for India in the World Test Championship is rather tough to pick. To read our prediction for the probable playing XI for India, click here
BJ Watling is set to retire after the World test Championship final. He has been one of the greats for New Zealand over the years. BJ will love to retire with the trophy in his hand!
Colin De Grandhomme:
New Zealand are okay to start without a spinner if Colin is in. He is fit to return in the XI. England’s test series with New Zealand saw Colin de Grandhomme back in action in his new hairstyle. He brings great value to the team, both with the bat and the ball. An explosive finish is always around when De Grandhomme bats. He can be promoted up the order if the situation requires and can also start with the new ball if needed.
The tall pacer has just played 6 tests but marked his place and name already. 36 wickets in just 6 tests. He is handy with the bat as well Provides good assistance down the order with Wagner and co. His height is 6’8 which gives him the extra bounce and is very difficult to read. His bowling average is just 13.27 and batting average is 56.50. Crazy numbers!
Keeping Neil Wagner out of the playing XI for the WTC Final would be just injustice to him and a drawback to NZ side. He can bowl long continous spells. When the ball gets old, Wagner is your go to guy. He never gets tired. The phrase “Tail is wagging” is based on Neil Wagner. He even provides great depth with the bat. Averaging 22.5, he has picked 32 wickets in 10 test matches.
The highest wicket taker for New Zealand in the ongoing WTC cycle. He has picked 51 wickets at an average of 20.66. The most experienced pacer for New Zealand. He has his three-quarter seam delivery which can threaten even the best in business. 5-fer in the first test match against England, Tim Southee is on the 22th cloud in terms of confidence
Talk about swing and the first name to come up is Trent Boult. The 32-year old has been in terrific form and is the only guy in the 11 who can’t bat. He has picked 34 wickets at an average of 29.29 in the WTC cycle so far. Match practice against England in the second test match has assured his return.