Consistent India starts favourite, says Laxman

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This side is capable of overcoming any challenge like lack of match practice: Laxman

V.V.S. Laxman backed India to overcome a lack of match practice and win the ICC World Test Championship final against New Zealand.

Former India batsman Laxman, Ian Bishop and Shane Bond spoke in a virtual press conference organised by official broadcaster Star Sports.

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“India starts as favourite. India has been the most consistent team, both home and away, in this two-year Test cycle. There is so much depth and experience in this Indian line-up. New Zealand may have an advantage having just played a Test series in England, but this Indian team is capable of overcoming any challenge,” Laxman said.

The Hyderabad stylist stated that the Indian openers, Rohit Sharma in particular, should avoid fishing outside off. “It is very important for every opener to know where his off-stump is. Leaving balls outside off, in the channel of uncertainty, is something which Rohit should focus on. Rohit has another challenge in the form of Trent Boult, who brings the ball in. He also knows that against Boult, he cannot take his left leg across. Rohit has to play with the full face of the bat. These are two things that Rohit needs to address at the start of his innings,” Laxman said.

Banter in the nets

Former New Zealand speedster Bond recalled witnessing a preview of the Rohit-Boult battle in the Mumbai Indians nets.

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“Boult was swinging the ball, hitting Rohit on the pads, and telling him, ‘That’s what is going to happen in the WTC final’. So Boult was talking about it four months in advance. There was banter going on, which was just brilliant. Those two were very aware that they were going to come up against each other,” Bond, MI’s bowling coach, said.

Given New Zealand’s recent 1-0 Test series win over England, Bond picked his home nation to win the WTC final.

“I think New Zealand is going to win. New Zealand’s match practice and confidence gives them the edge. The toss will be crucial. If New Zealand wins the toss and bowl as well as they have in recent matches, they can dismiss India cheaply. They can then aim to put up a big score,” Bond said.

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Former West Indies pacer Bishop stated that India’s ideal bowling attack should consist of three pacers — Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami and Ishant Sharma — and two spinners, R. Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja. Umesh Yadav and Mohammed Siraj are the two other bowling options available for India.

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