World Test Championship: One Indian and a Kiwi in list of top 5 wicket-takers
- WTC Final: Virat Kohli-led Team India qualified for the final in top spot after beating Australia in Australia in a series for the generations and then toppled England's hopes on home turf.
The inaugural World Test Championship has reached its final chapter which will see the two most consistent teams in Test cricket, during the period between August 1, 2019 – June 22, 2021, take on each other in the summit clash in Southampton, starting June 18.
Virat Kohli-led Team India qualified for the final in top spot after beating Australia in Australia in a series for the generations and then toppled England's hopes on home turf.
But they will be up against their nemesis, Kane Williamson's New Zealand, who qualified for the final on the back of a strong home run. India's 0-2 defeat to the Kiwis at the beginning of 2020 has been the only low point for Kohli's team in a long time and they would want to extract revenge in the final.
The fact that the match will be played in England at Southampton, puts the bowlers in spotlight. Here is a look at the the top 5 wicket-takers in the World Test Championship. The list has an Indian and a New Zealander in it but only one of them have a clear chance of finishing the inaugural WTC as its leading wicket-taker.
1) Pat Cummins (AUS) - M: 14, Wkts: 70, SR: 47.6, Avg: 21.02
The Aussie Test vice-captain's reputation as the world's leading paceman in the longest format has been established by his stellar performance both on home soil and away from it. His variety and guile makes him a great asset to have for any captain.
2) Stuart Broad (ENG) - M: 17, Wkts: 69, SR: 43.4, Avg: 20.08
Just like his new ball partner for years, Jimmy Anderson, Broad too has aged like wine, producing great spells and picking up wickets when it mattered the most for his team. England's rotation policy for seamers has left him looking for rhythm from time to time but he has delivered most often. His return to the playing XI is what helped England come back from Test down at home against West Indies and win the series.
3) R Ashwin (IND) - M: 13, Wkts: 67, SR: 46.9, Avg: 20.88
India's biggest match-winner with the ball silenced his critics with a stellar performance with both bat and ball in Australia and rediscovered his mojo as a serious all-rounder in the home series against England. He will again be the man to look out for in the WTC final and is perhaps the only bowler who still has the chance to go past Cummins in this list.
4) Nathan Lyon (AUS) - M: 14, Wkts: 56, SR: 67.5, Avg: 31.37
Lyon has produced some great spells over the years to cement his place as Australia's second best spinner ever, after the legendary Shane Warne. But he was overshadowed by Ashwin in the crucial series down under and Indian batsmen found a way to keep him at bay in crucial situations.
5) Tim Southee (NZ) - M: 10, Wkts: 51, SR: 45.9, Avg: 20.66
The best Kiwi bowler in show in the WTC so far. Southee's swing bowling is perfectly suited for conditions in New Zealand and he will be a handful in England too. He forms a deadly partnership with Trent Boult and the addition of Kyle Jamieson in the attack has given the Kiwis more teeth. He and his pack will be crucial against a strong Indian batting line-up in the final.