India name team early as Black Caps wait on weather for World Test Championship final

Author
Newstalk ZB, NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Fri, 18 Jun 2021, 5:47PM
India captain Virat Kohli and New Zealand captain Kane Williamson shake hands. (Photo / Photosport)
India captain Virat Kohli and New Zealand captain Kane Williamson shake hands. (Photo / Photosport)

India name team early as Black Caps wait on weather for World Test Championship final

Author
Newstalk ZB, NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Fri, 18 Jun 2021, 5:47PM

text by NZ Herald

India have seized the initiative in the World Test Championship final against New Zealand by naming their starting XI a day early.

That's despite rain pouring at the venue, and the whole first day in doubt due to the forecast.

India have opted for two spinning all-rounders and three seamers, paying no attention to the conditions or the "green tinge", as Black Caps captain Kane Williamson described, to the pitch.

Ravindra Jadeja and Ravichandran Ashwin will be the rare spin pairing for India as captain Virat Kohli shrugged off the rainy forecast which could see a washout on the first day set to begin tonight.

"It does not change anything from our point of view as a team," Kohli said. "For us it's about covering all bases and making sure that we take the strongest side that we can on the park that gives us batting depth and gives us enough bowling options as well.

"We are quite clear in terms of what we want to do. Forecast is not something we're focussed on. We're not thinking too much about what might change. Regardless of what we do, we have our bases covered and we know that very well.

"We're not bothered about what the weather holds and if we need to change the outlook of the team altogether, no. Obviously how you approach the game and the decisions that you make day-to-day, they obviously alter when the conditions are different, but not your whole team altogether."

Williamson, on the other hand, has decided to keep his cards close to his chest, with New Zealand deciding to wait on the weather conditions before unveiling their XV.

"Just with the weather around, we want to get a closer look at the surface. It's raining now so we'll have a look in the morning," he said.

"There is a little green tinge [on the pitch], but there's not a huge amount of grass on it.

"Often we see in this part of the world the conditions suiting seam bowlers, particularly when the ball's new.

"However, as we saw in the last two games [against England], spin also came into it.

"I'm sure there will be a little bit there for everyone, and it'll just be about focusing on what we can control within our group and doing that to the best of our ability.

"It looks like a pretty fair surface. Both teams have a number of strengths in a number of areas so it should be a really good contest."

Williamson had an injection to help treat an elbow issue that kept him out of the second test against England in Edgbaston, but he says he's ready to go for the final.

"The injection has helped somewhat so that's positive and fine to go for this game."

Meanwhile, Kohli isn't buying the Black Caps' "nice guys" label, saying he respects New Zealand as a team but will only focus on what happens on the field.

"I don't really understand this term that was used, I don't think any other team has bad guys in their team," he said when asked about the Black Caps' reputation off the field.

"It's something that we're not thinking about. For us it is a team that we're playing against, an opposition that we will be squaring up against that has a lot of quality players, but the other stuff which is off the field does not filter onto the field.

"On the field we're very professional and we know exactly how we're going to play and what we need to do on the field. Yes we get along very well off the field but when you step across the line then it's business at the end of the day and we have to deal with it accordingly.

"It's pretty serious stuff out there. It's not something that is fun and games and is played at a very low voltage environment. Obviously this is a huge game, a huge test match and we are certainly looking forward to an opportunity that we've been waiting for for a few years now."

Black Caps (four to be omitted): Kane Williamson (c), Tom Latham, Devon Conway, Ross Taylor, Henry Nicholls, BJ Watling, Colin de Grandhomme, Kyle Jamieson, Tim Southee, Neil Wagner, Trent Boult, Will Young, Tom Blundell, Matt Henry, Ajaz Patel

India: Virat Kohli (c), Rohit Sharma, Shubman Gill, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane, Rishabh Pant, Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin, Jasprit Bumrah, Ishant Sharma, Mohammad Shami

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