WTC final | Nicholls wary of Indian spinners

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India’s pace attack is on par with New Zealand’s world-class swing operators but the Black Caps batsman Henry Nicholls is more wary of the threat spinners R. Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja may pose during the upcoming World Test Championship final.

India and New Zealand will fight it out for the inaugural title at Southampton’s Ageas Bowl, one of those rare English tracks known to aid the slow bowlers for a considerable period in Test matches. “India have a very good seam attack and also have the experienced spinners like Ashwin and Jadeja. They have been consistent in all parts of the world (of late) and bring quality (to attack),” said Nicholls.

If there are no injury concerns, the Indian pace trio that is expected to be in the playing XI for the clash starting June 18 would be Jasprit Bumrah, Ishant Sharma and Mohammed Shami.

“Shami, Bumrah and Ishant have proven their quality over the years which is similar to our seamers (Trent Boult, Tim Southee and Neil Wagner) on whom we really pride ourselves on.

“So if you are facing that kind of a line-up, it’s an exciting challenge and as a group we are expecting it to be tough but also looking forward to the challenge,” the 29-year-old southpaw, who enjoys a 43-plus average over 37 Test matches, said.

His teammate Devon Conway’s strategy of pouring dry kitty litter on the track in order to create rough was backed by Nicholls as they are playing at a “neutral venue” which is known to assist the spinners.

“That was something that we experimented in the camp before we came over to UK. You managed to get some more turn and get some practice. So playing at a neutral venue, we need to check what the wickets will be like there. Also the guile of Ashwin and Ravi Jadeja is something that we need to be prepared for,” Nicholls said.

Nicholls was a part of the New Zealand team that thrashed India inside three days in two home Tests in early 2020, something that will give it confidence going into the final.

“We beat them 2-0 a season back (2019-20). But we know and accept that it’s a different challenge but as a group we take a lot of confidence from that series win against India. Obviously, No. 1 and 2 playing the final is a challenge too,” he said.

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