New Zealand head coach Gary Stead has downplayed the possibility of having an advantage over India in the ICC World Test Championship final. Several experts have backed New Zealand to lift the trophy in the final in Southampton as they have had excellent match practice leading up to the same. But Gary Stead believes that a win over England would hardly mean anything while playing against India.
England suffered their first home Test series defeat as New Zealand beat them 1-0 in the two-Test series. After dominating the hosts in the first Test at the Lord’s that resulted in a draw, the tourists defeated Joe Root’s men at the Edgbaston by eight wickets. As a result, they toppled India as the number one team in Test cricket.
Gary Stead remained neutral about New Zealand’s chances at the ICC World Test Championship final in Southampton despite beating England. Instead, he believes that India are at an advantage with the IPL being shortened as they have an extended time to refresh.
“I am not sure if it is an advantage or disadvantage really, it is nice that we have managed to get over here and play some cricket. I guess the advantage for India is that IPL being shortened, or people would still be playing from the Indian team. So it is a little bit of a different situation for us,” Stead said as quoted by India Today.
It is a real privilege and pleasure to be part of the WTC final: Gary Stead
Gary Stead revealed that the two Tests before the decider has been a tremendous opportunity for them to get ready. The 49-year old sees it as a privilege to be part of the final as they have earned the rewards of playing some exciting cricket for the last two years. Simultaneously, the Christchurch-born understands that the Indian side is a real force and are worthy finalists.
“No doubt, as a coach, I am pleased that we had some time here and had a couple of test cricket. I think it is good for us in getting ready for this Test match. It is a real privilege and pleasure to be part of the WTC final. For us, it was an interesting road getting here and we played interesting cricket last couple of years to get here. But we are aware of the strength of this Indian side and they are worthy finalists and really looking forward to the battle in the next week,” he added.