India v New Zealand Cricket World Test Championship final: Resilient Kiwis eye glory
By Devarchit Varma June 16, 2021
The history: Not very long ago, New Zealand suffered the ignominy of being bowled out for 45 despite the conditions suggested favorable to batsmen. It was not a wrong call at the coin toss which their then captain Brendon McCullum took, but it turned out to be the tipping point of all that was going wrong for the Kiwis.
This was the year 2013.
In the evening that day, the key elements in the Kiwis’ camp: their captain McCullum, head coach Mike Hesson, assistant coach Bob Carter and team manager Mike Sandle found themselves converging for a meeting no one called for. They were all hurting. They all were seeking answers. These men went on to have an intense session of introspection and discovered that their approach and attitude were far off from what they and their fans expected.
The New Zealand cricket team was neither playing cricket the way it could and the way their fans wanted them to, nor were they carrying themselves in the right manner.
The men in the impromptu, unofficial meeting decided unanimously that enough was enough, and the New Zealand cricket team and its management had to do more and far better than they had been doing.
The results are there for all to see.
Two years later, New Zealand produced a remarkable campaign in the Cricket 2015 World Cup which they co-hosted with Australia and went far as into the final.
The turnaround was indeed sparked by a batting collapse in perfect conditions in Cape Town against South Africa in a Test match. But it also set off a string of changes witnessed in the Kiwis’ approach to cricket, following which they have produced some of their best cricket in the last eight years. Under the strong and inspiring leadership of McCullum followed by Kane Williamson, New Zealand have thrived on the philosophy of being hardworking, disciplined, sticking to their talent and plans and yet being humble at the same time.
The New Zealand story
The humble, hardworking, and relentless Kiwis now find themselves in the final of an Cricket event once again, for the second time in eight years from the time they decided to mend their ways and work only in the direction of being the best. New Zealand, since then, have only garnered admiration and respect of their opponents as well as anyone who is following the game of cricket.
While the outcome of the final in the Cricket 2019 World Cup was nothing less than a heartbreak for the New Zealand side in which they lost to England owing to a controversial rule, the Kiwis again find themselves presented with an opportunity to finally record a victory in an Cricket event.
New Zealand favourties?
New Zealand are certainly the favourites to win in the final of the Cricket World Test Championship 2021 against India starting on Friday at Southampton—for they have all the arsenal in their ranks. The New Zealand batting order might not be a fearsome one across the world, but it is a very efficient and effective one and the conditions that they will encounter in England against India will make them feel and wonder if they are playing at home or away.
Kane Williamson is expected to be available for the big contest starting on Friday, Ross Taylor has announced his form, and the young Kiwi guns in Devon Conway and Will Young have given splendid examples of the promise they carry for this side. The old warrior in BJ Watling is set for his final act on the international scene, whereas the multitalented Colin de Grandhomme presents New Zealand with a perfect backup bowling option and a great, handy batsman lower down in the order.
The biggest weapon that the Kiwis have in their armory is the string of impressive fast bowlers, and some of them already have the wood on a few of India’s batsmen. Trent Boult is expected to trouble the likes of Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli while the warrior in Neil Wagner will be expected to make the most of the conditions once again. The relentless Kiwi left-arm pacer faces the prospect of bowling one of the most resilient batsmen in Cheteshwar Pujara and their head-to-head contest will be a thrilling watch.
India will certainly find it incredibly difficult against this set of New Zealand players also because the Kiwis are more acclimatized for the conditions that are already familiar to them. New Zealand is coming off a huge series victory against England, which would bolster their confidence and also keep them in proper shape for the inaugural Cricket WTC final, which is going to be a blockbuster contest between two incredibly talented cricket teams.
New Zealand squad for Cricket World Test Championship final against India: Kane Williamson (c), Tom Blundell (wk), Trent Boult, Devon Conway, Colin de Grandhomme, Matt Henry, Kyle Jamieson, Tom Latham (vc), Henry Nicholls, Ajaz Patel, Tim Southee, Ross Taylor, Neil Wagner, BJ Watling (wk), Will Young.
Devarchit Varma is a cricket writer and journalist with an experience of more than a decade, having worked at Hindustan Times (newspaper) and CricketCountry (website). Along with covering international and domestic cricket, he has also interviewed several current and former top players such as Rohit Sharma, Steve Smith, Dale Steyn, Michael Hussey, Jacques Kallis, Brendon McCullum, Shane Watson, Lasith Malinga and many more. He has also worked in other beats as a journalist in Bollywood (Reliance BigOye) and IT (SiliconIndia) industries.
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