The cricket fans and experts are eagerly waiting for the World Test Championship (WTC) final, slated to be played between India and New Zealand in Southampton from June 18-22.
While the Kiwis are going into the marquee game on the back of a 1-0 series win over England, Virat Kohli and company are relying on intra-squad matches to get themselves ready for the all-important clash.
Despite the limited preparation, former pacer Venkatesh Prasad reckons Team India can get past New Zealand to lift the inaugural WTC trophy as they have got all bases covered.
“Two best teams are playing the final. India have got a lot of options as their bench is also very strong,” Prasad told PTI in an interaction on Monday (June 14).
“Be it a batting or seaming track, India have got the upper hand for the simple reason: In early 90s and later 2000s, there will be two good seamers but the team did have not a third or fourth option.
“Now the squad has got the strength of that and a couple of very good all rounders. We always had world class spinners but now we also have a world class pace attack.”
“And we also have the batting to 350 runs on the board. Now we have got everything covered. It doesn’t matter what sort of a pitch it would be. It should be India all the way,” he explained.
Prasad also shared his two cents on India’s playing XI for the WTC final, suggesting that both Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja should be in the line-up alongside three pacers in Ishant Sharma, Mohammad Shami and Jasprit Bumrah.
“Ashwin and Jadeja and three fast bowlers seem to be the best combination. Bumrah, Shami and Ishant Sharma have the experience of playing in different conditions, they know their roles very well.
“The strategy is very simple. Who can make use of the new ball better? Both Bumrah and Shami have got an amazing seam position and great control over line and length.
“I am surprised that Ishant is considered number three even after playing 100 Tests. He also has a lot of experience of playing county cricket in England.”
Prasad said he rather not pay too much attention on the opposition’s strengths.
“I hope to see the game go to fifth day. Especially in India we didn’t see it go beyond third or fourth day. It should reach day five but in English conditions, the Dukes ball does something more often than not.
“The batsmen will have to adapt quickly and the bowlers will need to figure out the end which is more suited to them,” he said.
Before departing for UK, India head coach Ravi Shastri had addressed the media and said that WTC final should be three-match affair.
Asked if he too wants to see a best of three final, Prasad replied: “See most sports it is just one final. It is also about having the window to play three finals. If you do that it is going to 25 days of cricket with three days of gap in between. Where is the window to do that?”
(With PTI inputs)