India and New Zealand will face off in the World Test Championship (WTC) final between June 18-22 in Southampton in the UK. The Kiwi team has already reached London and is undergoing a quarantine period. Meanwhile, the Indian team is undergoing a mandatory quarantine in Mumbai before flying off to the UK on June 2.
In this article, we take a look at the key bowlers of India and New Zealand and their performances in the Championship so far. We start with the Indian bowlers. For the likes of Umesh Yadav, Ishant Sharma, and Ravichandran Ashwin. the WTF final is like the ODI World Cup final. The three pacers only play the white ball format for India and thus this will be a big win for the senior bowlers in the squad.
WTC Final: Statistical Comparison Of Bowlers:
Ashwin is the third-highest wicket-taker in the WTC. He has taken 67 wickets, just three less from Pat Cummins who tops the list with 70 wickets in the championship. Ashwin’s best of 7/145 came against South Africa in the first Test match in Visakhapatnam. Out of his 67 wickets in the tournament, he took 32 against England and 12 wickets against Australia. Against South Africa, at home, he picked 15 wickets.
The lanky Indian pacer took 36 wickets in 11 games leading into the WTC final. Ishant Sharma started the home season by picking up just two wickets in the Test series against South Africa. Against Australia, he missed the entire Test series with injury before making a comeback against England.
At home, while the spinning pitches helped, Ishant was immaculate with his line and length. He picked up six wickets in four games. Ishant was a part of the Indian squad that played its maiden day-night Test in Kolkata against Bangladesh. He picked up 12 wickets in just two games. Umesh too picked up 12 wickets in two games.
Shami made a comeback into the Indian Test side in the WTC final. He too like Ishant Sharma missed the Test series against Australia. Shami broke his right hand in the first Test which ruled him out of the series. He played a big role in India’s Test series wins over South Africa, Bangladesh, and England. He took nine wickets against Bangladesh to kick off his campaign. Against South Africa, Shami picked 13 wickets. He had the best match figures of 7/58.
Another senior Indian pacer Umesh Yadav picked 29 wickets in seven games in the WTC final. 12 of them came against Bangladesh in the three-Test matches. Against South Africa, he picked 11 wickets in just two games to cap off two back-to-back series. Injuries kept Umesh out from the Indian XI for the Australia and England series. Now fit, Umesh is in line to be a part of India’s four-pronged pace attack in the seaming and swinging conditions of Southampton.
The long WTC campaign had taken its toll on Bumrah as well. His campaign was marred by repeated injuries which kept him out of the final Test against Australia and the Test series against England. He picked 11 wickets from three games against Australia. Against South Africa, he was not in the wickets column but against the Windies, he took 13 wickets in just two games which included two fifers.
Now let’s shift our focus to the Kiwi pace trio of Trent Boult, Tim Southee, and Neil Wagner. New Zealand beat teams like India, West Indies, and Pakistan to reach the finals. They became the first team to reach the final after Australia postponed their tour to South Africa over COVID-19 concerns.
The left-arm seamer Trent Boult picked up 34 wickets from just 9 games in the championship. Boult picked up 11 wickets in two Tests against India. Against West Indies, he picked up just five wickets with Southee and Wagner wreaking havoc against the Windies batsman in their 2-0 series win. In their 2-0 series win against Pakistan, Boult ended with nine wickets from just two games.
Boult’s partner in crime Tim Southee picked up 51 wickets in 10 games. Against West Indies, he picked six wickets in just two games. Next against India, Southee picked up 14 wickets in just two games. Finally, when the Kiwi locked horns against Pakistan, he picked up six wickets from just two games as well.
In the horror tour to Australia, Southee picked up 12 wickets from just two games. Though New Zealand lost the series, It was a good trip for the experienced Kiwi pacer.
The left-arm pacer with some serious pace, Wagner was up for the battle against Australia. He had rivalries with the likes of David Warner, Steve Smith, and Matthew Wade. Wagner picked up 17 wickets from three games. That followed a Test series against India where he played just one Test match and picked up two wickets.
Against Pakistan and West Indies, Wagner tallied a total of 13 wickets from three games to end his campaign with 32 wickets from seven games.
Henry completes the quartet of the Kiwi pacers. He goes under the radar but is a good enough bowler for the Kiwis in the longest format in the game. The right-arm pacer has taken just four wickets and has played three games in the entire championship.
Henry troubled the Indian batsmen in the 2019 World Cup semifinal in Manchester and will get similar conditions to create problems for them in the WTC Final as well. If the Kiwis plan to go with a five-man pace attack, Henry is the man for the job.
Given the two sets of bowlers and the conditions that they are playing in, the Kiwi pace attack is slightly and more potent in that the Indian attack. Plus they are injury-free which is not the case with the Indian bowlers. Thus the kiwi pace trio will give their team a slight edge that the Indian attack in the WTC final.
However, with the good show of the Indian pacers in overseas conditions in recent times, they can not be taken lightly as well. An exciting WTC final is on the cards.