India and New Zealand will be playing the World Test Championship (WTC) final in England starting Friday. What are India’s and New Zealand’s chances of winning? What will be the deciding factor? David Gower, a former England captain, provides the answers in this exclusive interview to

What are your views on the World Test Championship?

David Gower: It is a competition that needs to be validated. The fact that we have a final, it is important to be worried about the weather in the UK. If it can be a close contest, it will be very good. It needs some endorsement because there are many people who are partly opposed to it because COVID-19 has interrupted the schedule.

Your thoughts on India and New Zealand and their chances of winning the WTC final?

David Gower: New Zealand, as we have seen in the last few weeks, can be very competitive, as they have beaten England. They could have won that series 2-0. They have played most of their squad in the series. So, they can pick their strongest side for this final. They have a good pace bowling, competitive batting and a good spin as well, making the New Zealand cricket team a very balanced and competitive side.

India is a competitive side not only at home but away as well. England struggled in India a few months ago. India have proven over the last few years that they understand overseas conditions better than they used to, best equipped with pace bowling they have ever been. They obviously have good spin as England found out (recently in India), and we know the Indian cricket team’s batting. We have the two best sides basically, so it will be a good prospect to savour.

Do you have any suggestion for Virat Kohli on what he should do?

David Gower: Virat Kohli is not just one of the world’s best batsmen, he is also a very experienced player. We saw in the previous tours, how much he has improved in English conditions. The problem is that the WTC final is a one-off game, not a five-match series. As a player, you have one chance to make your mark in the final. So, those with the ability and experience are the ones likely to have an effect. If you look at India’s batting, there are half a dozen who can change the course of the game. That is one of the luxuries of playing a one-off game.

What could be the deciding factor for the WTC final?

David Gower: There’s no easy solution to this. Every game of cricket can be decided by one or two outstanding individual performances. Normally on the Southampton pitch, it will provide something for everyone. So, there will be something for the quicks, batsmen and the spinners. But it takes one outstanding innings to take control of the game. It can come from Virat Kohli, Kane Williamson, or even Devon Conway. Once you have enough runs on the board, you have a chance to put pressure on the opposition.

There are indications that India will go with two spinners. Do you think that will work?

David Gower: It is a strength because Ravichandran Ashwin is also a very good batsman. He can score hundreds. It depends on which is the other one, they are going to play. I’d be amazed and horrified if it is a big turning pitch. The way the pitch has been made, it will allow something for everyone. Spin will play much later and not early in the game. Good spin will play a part anytime. If you have spinners who can bat a little, you have a great chance of having a nicely balanced team.

What is your prediction for the WTC final and why?

David Gower: Well, I’m worried that it might be a draw because of the weather. If it is five of the best days of weather, I don’t think there is a clear winner. That’s the point of having a WTC final. If I were to say, New Zealand have a slight advantage for having played two Test matches in the last two weeks.

Featured photo: Twitter / England Cricket