Former India seamer Venkatesh Prasad believes India has all bases covered to get past New Zealand in the World Test Championship final beginning on June 18 in Southampton.
Unlike during his playing days, India now has a third or a fourth seamer who can maintain pressure built by the new-ball bowlers, observes Prasad. “Two best teams are playing the final. India have got a lot of options as their bench is also very strong,” Prasad told PTI on Monday.
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“Be it a batting or seaming track, India have got the upper hand for the simple reason: In the 90s and 2000s, [India would have] two good seamers but the team did have not a third or fourth option. Now the squad has got the strength of that and a couple of very good all-rounders. We always had world-class spinners but now we also have a world-class pace attack.”
‘India all the way’
Prasad formed the new-ball pairing alongside the great Javagal Srinath in his heydays. Prasad said he expects India to dominate the game. “And we also have the batting to 350 runs on the board. Now we have got everything covered. It doesn’t matter what sort of a pitch it would be. It should be India all the way,” he said.
New Zealand looks like the team to beat after it humbled host England in a two-match series. It was its first triumph on English soil in 22 years.
Venkatesh Prasad…”It doesn’t matter what sort of a pitch it would be. It should be India all the way.”
Talking about the possible playing eleven, Prasad says it will be a straightforward decision for captain Virat Kohli. If given a chance, Prasad would both go in with spinners in R. Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja, and three fast bowlers – Ishant Sharma, Mohammad Shami, and Jasprit Bumrah.
“Ashwin and Jadeja and three fast bowlers seem to be the best combination. Bumrah, Shami, and Ishant Sharma have the experience of playing in different conditions, they know their roles very well. The strategy is very simple. Who can make use of the new ball better? Both Bumrah and Shami have got an amazing seam position and great control over line and length. I am surprised that Ishant is considered No. 3 even after playing 100 Tests. He also has a lot of experience of playing county cricket in England.”
Prasad says he wouldn’t pay too much attention to the opposition’s strengths.
“I hope to see the game go to the fifth day. Especially in India, we didn’t see it go beyond the third or the fourth day. It should reach Day Five but in English conditions, the Dukes ball does something more often than not. The batsmen will have to adapt quickly and the bowlers will need to figure out the end which is more suited to them,” he says.
He also feels India has got enough time to prepare for the contest. Asked if he too wants to see a best-of-three final like India head coach Ravi Shastri, Prasad said: “See, in most sports it is just one final. It is also about having the window to play three finals. If you do that it is going to 25 days of cricket with three days of gap in between. Where is the window to do that?”