Former Indian cricketer Yuvraj Singh has asserted that New Zealand have an edge over a strong Indian side going into the World Test Championship final. He also added that Indian openers Rohit Sharma and Shubman Gill will need to adapt to the conditions quickly when they play against the Dukes.
India have been a dominant force under the leadership of Virat Kohli in the last few years. Kohli has led India to the numero-uno position year after year. The team has been unbeatable at home while they have also won Test series' in Sri Lanka, West Indies and most significantly, in Australia, not once but twice. However, Virat Kohli and co. have failed to clinch series in countries like New Zealand, England and South Africa, where the pitch provides ample assistance to seam bowlers. And now that the WTC finale will be played in England, it is going to be a significant hurdle for India to overcome.
Not only the history doesn’t bode well for India in England, but they are heading straight into red-ball cricket after the last playing in IPL, with the exception of Hanuma Vihari, who’s not even likely to start for the side. Unlike India, New Zealand are playing two Tests against England in the lead-up to the encounter and have the best possible preparation ahead of the marquee clash. Former Indian batsman Yuvraj Singh stated that practice sessions are no substitute for match practice and also reckoned that India are strong, but the Kiwis have an edge over them.
"There are 8-10 practice sessions but there's no substitute for match-practice. It will be an even contest but New Zealand will have an edge. I do believe India is very strong because lately we have been winning outside the country. I think our batting is stronger, in bowling they are at par," Yuvraj told 'Sports Tak', reported Sportstar.
Yuvraj Singh was also not too impressed with the fact that only one final game will decide the fate of the whole World Test Championship and feels that the winner should have been decided with a best of three Tests, something that India's head coach Ravi Shastri had also opined earlier.
"I feel in a situation like this, there should be a best of 3 Tests, because if you lose the first one then you can come back in the next two. India will have a slight disadvantage because New Zealand are already playing Test cricket in England," he added.
Indian openers - Rohit Sharma and Shubman Gill - had done a very good job opening the batting against Australia in the final two Tests Down Under. Yuvraj further added that both the openers would need to adapt to the conditions quickly as the Duke balls would be challenging to face.
"Rohit Sharma is very experienced now in Test matches. He has almost 7 hundreds, 4 hundreds as opener. But both Rohit and Shubman Gill have not opened in England ever. They know the challenge, the Dukes Ball swings early. They have to get used to the conditions quickly.
"In England, it's important to take it one session at a time. In the morning, the ball swings and seams, in the afternoon you can score runs, after Tea, it swings again. As a batsman, if you can adapt to these things, you can be successful."
Yuvraj Singh, who had helped Shubman Gill with his batting ahead of the Australia tour, also remarked that the young opener needs to keep believing himself and take confidence from his successful tour Down Under.
“Shubman is a very young guy, still inexperienced but he should feel confident about his success in Australia. So, if he has the belief, he can do well anywhere else in the world," said Yuvraj.