Former India pacer Ajit Agarkar reckons India will have their task cut out in the upcoming World Test Championship final against New Zealand, who boast of a potent pace attack ever ready to thrive in familiar English conditions. The much-awaited match is scheduled to be held in Southampton from June 18-22.
Speaking on Star Sports show GAME PLAN, Agarkar highlighted the challenges India could face against the Kiwis.
"It (New Zealand pace attack) has certainly got a lot of variety. I mean it is because you look at someone like (Kyle) Jamieson who is a tall guy and will pose a different challenge," Agarkar said. He then spoke highly of New Zealand's seasoned pace duo of Trent Boult and Tim Southee besides Neil Wagner, who has the ability to surprise with his speed.
"Boult and Southee both will bowl, one delivery coming into you, one delivery going away from you, as a right-hander. And then (Neil) Wagner, when nothing is happening, and you know, everything seems flat, he comes and does something and has been doing it on a regular basis. So the challenges are a bit different." Agarkar is aware that the conditions in Ageas Bowl are going to be more familiar for the New Zealanders.
"Also what works in their favour is the condition, because you are playing in England, it is almost like what you get in New Zealand. So that makes it a little bit easier with that Duke ball which does swing around. So the challenges are a lot.
"More so because India has not had any Test cricket in recent time, not a Test cricket away from home since the Australia tour. Australian conditions are completely different. So that's the biggest challenge. And that's why I feel the preparations (have) got to be the key," he said.
India registered incredible come-from-behind Test series triumphs in both Australia and against England at home, stamping their authority as one of the world's top sides at the moment. Taking into account their performance in recent years, Agarkar said India's strength lies in their ability to win with different players.
"I think a couple of things, resilience or just belief in your ability or in your own team. Look at the England series at home, we expected India to win.
"Yes, the conditions suit their (India) wicket or their spin bowling, but they lost the first Test comprehensively. They came back and beat England really well in the next three Tests," Agarkar said.
"Look at Australia (series), they (India) lost that first Test, bowled out for what 36 -- losing the host of your first team players, whether it's your best batsman in the team, Virat Kohli, your best bowler in the team, Mohammad Shami, those sort of losses.
"By the end of the series, you had a Shardul Thakur, T Natarajan, Mohammad Siraj bowling for you, against a full-strength Australian team and you still managed to find a way to win in those situations. So, the depth in that team -- even though there was not a lot of experience -- the guys that came in had enough belief that they could turn up. That's been India's strength."
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