We are just one sleep away from the all important WTC final between India and New Zealand. Unquestionably, New Zealand are favourites going into the final with the kind of form and preparation they have had. But winning this final will not make them the best test side in the world. They will merely be the best test side in England conditions who had more preparation time than their opposition.
Let’s have a look at why New Zealand will not be the best test side even if they win the final:
1. No away series win in the Championship
All series wins for New Zealand have come at home. They did not win a single series away from home. New Zealand were scheduled to play three away series in the championship. But their tour of Bangladesh was cancelled due to Covid Pandemic. In the tour of Sri Lanka, they were able to draw the series 1-1. However, in the series against Australia in Australia, the Kiwis were beaten 3-0 by the Kangaroos. On the other hand, India was able to win two of their three away series. They beat West Indies 2-0 and Australia 2-1 in their own backyard. Their only series loss came against New Zealand where they were completely outplayed by the Kiwis.
2. New Zealand never played a series involving four tests or more
In the whole World Test Championship New Zealand never played a series where more than three tests were played. The maximum number of tests in a series that they were part of was against Australia (3 tests) where they lost 3-0. Other four series against India, Sri Lanka, Pakistan and West Indies involved only 2 tests. A long test series involving at least four matches tests teams character, stamina, consistency and durability. Long series between two tough countries is exciting to see. If someone loses the first or the second test, they will have a chance to come back strong. Whereas in a two test series after losing one match, the series is pretty much over.
New Zealand are going into the final with more preparation and game time than India. They reached England way ahead in time to play two tests. So far, they have had an intra-squad match and two test matches before the final. They will also be high on confidence after beating England’s B team with their own second string side. On the contrary, India has been in England for not more than 2 weeks. They have been able to play only 1 intra-squad match as practice. They haven’t had enough time to get acclimatized to the conditions. Hence, they will be going into the final with less game time and preparation.
4. Playing in conditions suitable to them
New Zealand did not need much time to get accustomed to the conditions in the UK. This is because the weather and conditions prevailing in the UK are somewhat similar to those prevailing in New Zealand. The only acclimatization they needed was bowling with the dukes ball because they use Kookaburra ball at home. However, this will not be the case with India. Even though some of the players have toured England in the past, two weeks is too less time to adapt to these conditions, weather, ball and pitches. Adding to that they have to play an all important final.