New Zealand was the first team to reach the ICC World Test Championship and have a genuine shot at claiming the ultimate prize of the longest format. New Zealand also have the chance to bury the ghosts of losing the last two 50-over World Cup finals when they take on India in the tournament-decider in Southampton. It begins on the 18th of June and the selectors have picked the squad as well.
While the Indian team has the momentum, the Black Caps hold a certain edge due to their fast bowling expertise, given the conditions. It is also worth noting that New Zealand beat India convincingly in the last two Tests between them, mainly by unsettling the India batsmen. Hence, they should fancy their chances again and the two Tests against England before the final gives them the much-needed time to acclimatize to the conditions.
Below is New Zealand’s strongest playing XI for the World Test Championship final:
Tom Latham has been one of the consistent openers in Test cricket in the last couple of years. Though Tom Latham’s statistics have not been hugely impressive, the left-handed batsman can do more than enough to see off the new ball threat. He averaged 38 in Test cricket last year and has 33 this year so far.
The limited-overs keeper-batsman made 122 runs in two Tests, averaging 40.67 against India when they visited New Zealand. Thus, having faced the likes of Jasprit Bumrah, Ishant Sharma, and Mohammed Shami, Latham would be aware of the threat they pose. The 29-year old is also reasonably experienced, having featured in 56 Tests.