Former New Zealand coach Mike Hesson feels that the incredible workload of the New Zealand team which has one more Test left against England and then the final of the World Test Championship (WTC) against India in a short period of time, will create an issue for the Kiwis.
He agreed that New Zealand having match practice of two Tests before the all-important WTC final against India is a huge advantage for the BlackCaps, but he is concerned about them playing 3 Tests in a short gap with just 4 days off before the WTC Final.
“It is an issue (playing three Tests with a four-day gap in between). New Zealand will have to look at the bowling attack and that’s potentially why Trent Boult will play this game (the second Test against England from Thursday,” he pointed out in a chat with PTI.
“That will give one of those other quicks to rest potentially because it’s only four days between each Test. So, three on the bounce is a big deal, especially if you put in 45 to 50 overs in the second Test, or they just decide to manage the workloads which is not something you usually do going into a Test match,” he said.
Furthermore, he spoke about India’s opening combination and felt that while India might go with Rohit Sharma and Shubman Gill as their openers in the WTC Final, he says that Mayank Agarwal must also be considered for the role in place of Gill.
Agarwal was the team’s leading run-getter in the away series against New Zealand last year when India lost 0-2 and was only one of the four Indian batsmen to get a half-century in an otherwise difficult campaign.
“They will probably go with Rohit and Shubman but I think Mayank needs to be considered. He has faced the New Zealand attack in New Zealand, where he would have got some crucial experience,” said Hesson.
With the spinners expected to come into play later in the game, Hesson said R Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja must play alongside three pacers. He also spoke about Rishabh Pant to do what he did in Australia and be the X-Factor that India wants him to be.
“That (Ashwin and Jadeja) gives India a really good balance. It gives you five frontline bowlers which means you can attack both left and right-handers and New Zealand has got five left-handers and six- right-handers.
I think he’s (Rishabh Pant) more confident, more settled on the international stage now. Therefore, he’s able to play the way he wants to play. He has earned enough credit within his team as well. He also does the hard work first, so it’s not a reckless play. He allows himself that chance to show a bit of flair, which we all enjoy watching,” Hesson said.
Hesson concluded by supporting India head coach Ravi Shastri’s views on the WTC final format going forward.
He agreed with Shastri’s opinion that the WTC final needs to be a best of three contest and said, “If it is to be considered a pinnacle event then time needs to be made in cricket calendar for a best of three final.”