Former New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum lavishes rich praises on Virat Kohli and Kane Williamson, the two captains who will battle it out in the World Test Championship final commencing Friday in Southampton; he also speaks about the contrasting demeanour of both the stalwarts.
India and New Zealand are in the final of the inaugural ICC WTC, having secured the first and second position respectively on the points table with successful results over a two-year period. The Asian giants won 12 of the 17 matches they played in this WTC cycle, while the Kiwis were victorious in 7 of the 11 they did.
McCullum reckons both the superstar players and their teams “rightfully deserve the opportunity” to feature in perhaps their captaincy career-defining Test match.
“Both Virat and Kane have led their sides brilliantly. Their own forms have been superb. To be able to qualify for the WTC final is a massive achievement,” Brendon McCullum told India Today on eSalaamCricket.
“To reach the final of WTC, the results they needed for a long period. You have to force the situations in Test cricket to garner success in the longest format of the game. Both captains have pushed their teams to excel, and I believe they rightfully deserve the opportunity to play in the final,” he added.
McCullum, who himself was a revolutionary captain and batsman and someone who changed the history of New Zealand cricket, terms Kohli and Williamson as “inspirational leaders” while also pointing out the strikingly opposite manner both of them carry themselves.
“They are inspirational leaders but lead their teams indifferently. One (Kohli) is out and out aggressive, while the other (Williamson) is a dominant leader but is not as expressive as his counterpart. They are true ambassadors of the game and are the must-watch talents of the present time.
“Apart from being great leaders, they are two giants of the International game at his point of time. One of the amazing qualities they both have is to get the best out of those around them. It has helped them to achieve some special things for their countries,” the 39-year-old further added.
I think 60-40 in favour of New Zealand: Brendon McCullum
The former opener also opined that New Zealand are starting the WTC final as slight favourites – 60-40 over India in his opinion. He asserts that since the Kiwis have recently played in a 2-Test series with hosts England, and won it 1-0, they have had a better match practice than India, who practiced with an intra-squad match.
“I think 60-40 in favour of New Zealand. It’s going to be close. The match practice that New Zealand are going to have leading into the final could just title it in their way. I think it’s going to be close,” McCullum feels.