Islamabad: The World Test Championship (WTC) final, slated to begin in Southampton on June 18 between India and New Zealand, is still about 25 days away but it has already become a hot topic in the cricket fraternity. While the concerned players are eagerly looking forward to getting back to action, former cricketers and various pundits are also busy making predictions about team combinations, conditions, and the match result.
Former Pakistan batsman Salman Butt has also joined the bandwagon. While speaking in a video posted on his Youtube channel, a fan asked Butt about what could prove to be the difference between the World No.1 Test side (India) and the World No.2 side (NZ). In response, Butt started by saying the English conditions and pitch will determine the outcome to a large extent.
“I think the application of technique (could decide the result) if the conditions are truly English. If the English weather plays its part and there is off-the-pitch seam movement, then it will show which team has stronger basics and which team has better technique application,” explained Butt.
The southpaw added that bowlers will have to be very disciplined with line and length as they play a huge role in such conditions.
“Another difference will be how their bowling line-ups shape up because line and length play a massive role usually. When you play on a pitch that provides assistance to the pace bowlers, then line and length are crucial. If you are off the mark, runs will be scored,” he remarked.
While concluding his point, Butt elaborated on what factors could lead to either side having an upper hand over the other. The 36-year-old said the Kiwis could hold an edge due to the continuity of match time.
“Since the match is in June and since New Zealand would be better prepared for the English conditions (due to the two-Tests series against England before the WTC final), they would definitely hold an edge. New Zealand would have the momentum because of continuity in Test cricket as they would go (into the final) on the back of two matches. Whereas, India (without any match practice), would be waiting for them in the finals,” opined Butt.
While speaking about India’s chances, the former opener commented that India could have an advantage should the pitch provide assistance to the spinners. He said: “The last time Pakistan played England in Southampton, there was a lot of spin on the wicket. It was a combination of Jos Buttler’s batting and poor fielding and tactics from Pakistan that they lost the match. And India have some quality spinners as well. So, if there is as much spin this time, India will have the upper hand.”
Concluding his point, Butt remarked that apart from the aforementioned points, there is not much to differentiate between the two teams as both the combinations look strong.