Former New Zealand pacer Shane Bond reckons the Kiwis will bowl first if they win the toss, but believes that such a move also poses the risk of India batting first and posting a potentially match-winning score. Bond further feels that the Kiwis will play five seamers, leaving out Ajaz Patel.
Wickets back in New Zealand are one of a kind, and the Kiwis’ modus operandi back home, across the past half a decade, has been to bowl teams out cheaply in the first innings when the pitch is still spicy. The New Zealand batters are also adept at tackling tricky day one condition, but the Blackcaps, more often than not, have swayed towards bowling first when given a chance, as they did in each of the two Tests against India last year.
No one quite knows what the Southampton pitch will offer, but former Kiwi speedster Shane Bond believes that the Kiwis will be keen to bowl first if given a chance. The former pacer said that he expects New Zealand to bowl India out cheaply if they win the toss, but admitted that the strategy could backfire should India post a big first-innings total.
"I think New Zealand will play five seamers, and I think they'll win the toss and they'll bowl first,” Bond was quoted as saying by Hindustan Times.
"...if New Zealand win the toss and bowl as well as they have. I think they'll bowl out India cheaply and that ain't a bad thing. The risk is if they (NZ) don't bowl them out, India have got two world class spinners and are right in the game. So, it's the toss that is going to be huge. And that first innings is going to be huge," he added.
New Zealand, in contrast to India, will enter the one-off game on the back of a two-Test series against England, and Bond stated that the match practice will make the Kiwis heavy favourites. The former pacer reckoned that the extra practice will have a ‘massive impact’ on the game.
"I think New Zealand are going to win. Game practices are going to have a massive impact. I think India have got a balanced bowling attack. I think they'll play three seamers and two spinners," Bond said.
Bond is, incidentally, a long-term bowling coach of the Mumbai Indians franchise, and the 46-year-old oversaw both Trent Boult and Rohit Sharma as recently as two months ago, in India during IPL 2021. The former pacer narrated a funny incident involving the duo, at the Mumbai Indians nets, and asserted that he was itching to see the duo go face-to-face with each other in Southampton come Friday.
"What I do know, even during the IPL, Boult was running in and hitting the pads of Rohit, telling him that this is what is going to happen in the WTC final. This was just brilliant, those two were aware that they are going to come up against each other. I just love Rohit Sharma, I see him playing a Matthew Hayden type of role."
"He goes out as he did against England earlier this year, he imposes himself, he is dynamic and he can score pretty quickly. He can take the game away in one hour, batting at the top of the order suits him, if he scores fast, it instantly puts pressure on the bowling attack. I cannot wait for the battle between Boult and Rohit. I am expecting to see few smiles between the guys as well.”