The highly-anticipated World Test Championship (WTC) final between India and New Zealand in Southampton, England is less than a month away. The marquee event begins on June 18 and with the Indian T20 League indefinitely postponed, all eyes will be on Test cricket’s showpiece event.

One of the greatest all-rounders of all time, New Zealand’s Sir Richard Hadlee had his say on the first-ever WTC final in the history of world cricket. Hadlee believes that the team which adapts to England’s cold overcast conditions better will come out on top although New Zealand might just have a slight advantage in terms of the conditions.

"It all comes down as to who is better prepared and who adapts better to the English conditions the quickest," he said, as reported by the ICC. "The weather may also play a part and if it is cold that will favour New Zealand. The Duke ball will suit both team’s fast bowlers especially the genuine swing bowlers and the Kiwis are well served in that department with (Tim) Southee, (Trent) Boult and (Kyle) Jamieson. If the ball seams around off the pitch, batsmen in both teams will be challenged.”

When asked to pick a favourite between the two sides, Hadlee said: “It’s too difficult to call a winner. Both teams have high-class batsmen so it will be an interesting game to watch. It is too difficult to call a winner at this stage."

As ICC changed the points system and based it on percentage due to disruptions caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, India slipped to third place after being on top of the standings. However, India went on to seal a place in the WTC final after defeating England 3-1 at home while New Zealand were the first side to make it to the final on the merit of the highest percentage of points earned. 

Hadlee also opined that both sides are world class and won’t be fazed or overawed by the occasion. "The Test Championship is a one-off game. Yes, it is a final, but I don’t think either team will be too fazed about it. It is a neutral ground with no home team advantage. It is something to look forward to. Both teams deserve to be contesting the final because of their consistent playing performances over a set period of time," he said.

Featured image : AFP / Dibyangshu Sarkar