Ahead of the World Test Championship final in Southampton, Indian off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin has admitted that he expects a well-planned and well-knit Kiwi side to come at the Indian team. He also suggested that the ICC could perhaps even host bilateral series at neutral venues.
While the Indian team is away practising, for the World Test Championship final, with an intra-squad match, their opposition - New Zealand - are currently playing their second Test against England. That not only gives New Zealand enough time to get match-practice but also get acclimatized to the conditions in England. Last time, when India met the BlackCaps, it was a humiliation, as Kyle Jamieson’s debut handed India a whitewash, away from home.
Indian off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin, who has been a vital cog in India’s success, admitted that he expects a very well-planned and knit New Zealand side to come at the Indian side in the final. Ashwin also cited that the BlackCaps would walk in with an advantage, of having played in the conditions.
"I expect a very well-planned and well-knit New Zealand team to come at us. Obviously having played two Tests, they will definitely come in with an advantage. So we have to adapt to that," Ashwin told BCCI.tv
With the WTC, the ICC have set a context to the bilateral series, making it more valuable. However, Ashwin was of the suggestion that even the bilateral series could be played in neutral venues, which would add more context to Test cricket - bringing the whole ebbs and flows - of the game.
"If I may say this, it has to be the most exciting part of playing Test cricket. In all these years, it never happened - we've never played a team in a neutral venue," Ashwin added.
"But I think going forward, maybe the WTC could add context this way, [by having] two teams playing away from their home and sort of bringing the whole ebbs and flows of the game," he added.
Another vital cog of India’s bowling unit, Ishant Sharma, on the other hand, pointed out that the bowlers would have to get their lengths on point as soon as possible.
"When you bowl in India, after the new ball you get reverse-swing. When you play here, your length becomes fuller because the ball swings. Adjusting to that length is not easy. It takes a lot of effort. Because the weather is cooler here and it takes time to acclimatise,” Sharma said.
"Somebody needs to take the responsibility to look after the ball, to maintain the shine and everything. And after that everything happens. If the ball is well maintained, it'll be easy for the fast bowlers to do the job for the team," he concluded.