Former West Indies fast bowler Michael Holding has proclaimed that the Ageas Bowl pitch will provide assistance to the spinners and that is likely to benefit India. He also advocated R Ashwin's selection in the crucial fixture irrespective of the conditions as he feels one spinner is a must.
There is literally nothing more influential in a Test match than a cricket pitch as it has the potential to define the outcome of a game, as the more suited a team is to it, the more their chances of winning the fixture. There have already been a lot of talks surrounding the pitch that will be dished in the World Test Championship finale between India and New Zealand, which takes place in Southampton. Last time, when India played a Test at the venue in 2018, Moeen Ali, with a lot of assistance from the wicket, had wreaked havoc in India's camp and helped his side win the game.
The pitch at the Ageas Bowl, traditionally, has had something for the spinners, and that can be good news for the Virat Kohli-led side given they boast two of the world's finest spinners at present, Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja. However, even if India gets a seam-friendly deck, there's no dearth of quality options for them, with all the first-choice pacers available for the WTC finale. Popular TV commentator Michael Holding has opined that the conditions will play a major role in the WTC final between India and New Zealand.
"Obviously, conditions will play a role. But the bowling attack India have, it will help them even if conditions remain bright. And if it’s sunny throughout, they can even afford to play two spinners. They have that advantage," Holding told The Telegraph, reported HT.
He further added that the pitch should help the Indian spinners and even batted for the inclusion of R Ashwin as he can contribute both with the bat and ball. Notably, Ashwin had also got a century in the second Test against England in Chennai, besides taking a truckload of wickets in the home series, a few months back.
"Even if conditions are damp, I still think India will include one spinner, which could be (Ravichandran) Ashwin as he can contribute well with his batting too. The pitch there (at the Ageas Bowl) does offer turn for spinners, which will be to India’s liking," Holding said.
The Indian team have already reached Southampton. On the other hand, New Zealand are currently playing the first Test against New Zealand that finishes on June 6, followed by the second and final Test of the series at Edgbaston from June 10. Both the teams will clash in the WTC finale on June 18.