Former Indian women’s team head coach WV Raman has predicted the Indian side as the favourites to win the inaugural World Test Championship final. Raman also talked about the various aspects of playing in England, where the conditions are considerably tilted towards the bowling unit.
Having undergone a massive transformation in the last few years, the Indian side find themselves one step up away from winning an ICC event, after failing in the last two editions of the 50-over World Cup, where they exited in the semi-finals. While the conditions in England are favourable tilted towards New Zealand and their style of play.
New Zealand also have had a wood over India, having beaten them in the Test series 2-0 earlier. Yet, the former Indian women’s team head coach WV Raman opined that India would walk as the favourites to lift the World Test Championship trophy against New Zealand. Raman insisted the Indian team’s all-round side ability to adapt to any conditions thrown at their disposal would make the difference.
“I would pick India as the favourites. They have got a good all-round side. India have the strength to put together a side that can do well in any condition. They can take the pitch out of the equation. That way this side has an advantage. This team has shown that they can perform regardless of the situation and conditions,” Raman told Hindustan Times.
“They may not have had the opportunity to get the feel of a Test match before the final but I don’t see it mattering to this side. All of them are seasoned. These things hardly matter to them. All of them are eager to go out and perform,” he added.
While there are a few calls to include Mayank Agarwal at the top of the order, notably from Mike Hesson, Raman wants the management to stick with the current opening partnership. However, the former Indian batsman warned them not to be ‘complacent’ in conditions, where things change every minute, with the swinging ball.
“Rohit has played enough. He is vastly experienced. Shubman Gill despite being a youngster has got a lot of exposure of playing international cricket. There is no reason why they cannot do it in the WTC final. What is important in England is to take it moment by moment. There you can’t say you are totally set if you have batted for two hours because the weather can change suddenly. So, it is important to always take it one ball at a time,” Raman asserted.
Raman, on the other hand, had a piece of advice for Cheteshwar Pujara, who has shown solidarity in the Indian middle-order, at No.3, in the wins over Australia, in 2018 and 2020. The southpaw called for Pujara to be more ‘aggressive’ in his shot-making, making the fullest use of the scoring opportunities. Raman reasons it out, saying that, unlike Australia, the ball will always keep talking in the English conditions, which would make run-scoring extremely difficult.
“I think Cheteshwar perhaps can look at playing a few more shots. In England, you’ve got to make the best use of the scoring opportunities. Assuming this will again be a typical English summer, you will get very few scoring opportunities anyway. Cheteshwar likes to grind for long hours and then score. In that period, he might miss out on some scoring opportunities,” he opined.
“You can get away with that in India, Australia, where there is not much swing and seam. But both happen a lot in England. In Australia, you will have bounce, you might have a bit of seam but in England, you will have to cope with all three at times. It is important not to let the scoring opportunities go. This not only gives him runs and builds his confidence but it also puts the bowler under pressure. It makes him think,” he added.