Former New Zealand cricket coach Mike Hesson feels that both India and the Kiwis are evenly matched in the World Test Championship (WTC) final which starts at the Ageas Bowl in Southampton on June 18.
Hesson says he is keenly looking forward to how the India top-order will fare against the swinging ball in Southampton when the cross breeze comes into play and feels the match will be a test of captaincy for both Virat Kohli and his opposite number, Kane Williamson, given that the wicket will change from day to day.
“They are even (India and New Zealand). The fact that it’s being played at a neutral venue also makes the WTC final an even contest. Assuming there are no injuries in the next couple of weeks, both sides will be at full strength, and we are in for an exciting contest,” said Hesson, who took over from John Wright in 2012 and relinquished his post as New Zealand coach in 2018.
“I am keen to see how India’s top-order fares against the swinging ball. The ball does a bit in Southampton and as the cross breeze comes into play, it can be a challenge for the batsmen. How the Indian top order plays the New Zealand pacers could decide the outcome,” Hesson told The Times of India.
Hesson, who has also worked with Virat Kohli as he was the director of cricket operations with Indian Premier League (IPL) side Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB), added that both the Indian skipper and Kane Williamson were good leaders, and the WTC final would be a test of their leadership skills.
“Both are very good leaders and yes both are different in their style of captaincy. Kane is more of a slow-burn in the sense that he likes to put pressure over a period of time. Virat, on the other hand, is constantly looking for ways to put his side in the driver’s seat. The WTC final will be a test of captaincy for both. As the wicket changes from day to day, it will be interesting to see how both Kane and Virat make those little tweaks in their strategies to stay ahead.”