If he performs as he did in his country, India will be in strong position: Panesar predicts 'match-winner' of WTC final

  • With both teams are evenly matched-up, Panesar pointed out the two players who could be the key to their team's chances in the WTC final.
Indian players celebrate a wicket against England during the home series. (BCCI)
Indian players celebrate a wicket against England during the home series. (BCCI)
Updated on Jun 09, 2021 01:14 PM IST
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By, New Delhi

All eyes are on the final of the World Test Championships, where India and New Zealand will face each other to determine the winner. The Ageas Bowl in Southampton plays host to the all-important line-up and both teams are up and running as far as preparation for it are underway. The Indian team has hit the ground running after their arrival in the UK whereas New Zealand are getting some solid match-practice by playing England in a couple of Tests.

Ahead of the WTC final, former England spinner Monty Panesar weighed in on the chances of both teams. The former left-arm spinner is impressed with the kind of cricket New Zealand are playing, and expects them to give a fight to Virat Kohli's India.

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"I think New Zealand is quite a good team and Conway had a great game against England. They have got few left-handers in there so I am sure Ashwin will probably be the first-choice spinner," Panesar told ANI.

"New Zealand looks a better team than I think a lot of people thought in England and they are kind of playing like a number one team in the world. I think it is going to be a great Test match between the two sides and it's not going to be easy for India."

With both teams are evenly matched-up, Panesar pointed out the two players who could be the key to their team's chances in the WTC final. Coming off a splendid five-wicket haul in the Lord's Test, Tim Southee will pose a serious threat to India's batsmen, reckons Panesar. As far as India's biggest weapon is concerned, Panesar went ahead with premier spinner R Ashwin, and feels that if the off-spinner can repeat his India exploits, India can very well walk away with the advantage.

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"With the weather around and so many left-handers in the New Zealand squad, Ashwin could be the match-winner in this final. The difference is going to be Ashwin, I think Tim Southee is bowling well, he could be the difference for New Zealand," Panesar added.

"If Ashwin can get the left-handers out cheaply, I think New Zealand would be in trouble, if Ashwin can't then it would put more and more pressure on seamers. If he performs as he did in his country, they will be in a stronger position. We have a heatwave here and the weather is fantastic, I think the wicket will turn and India might go with two spinners. Also, Virat Kohli wants to get Ravindra Jadeja in the team."

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Tuesday, January 25, 2022