India and New Zealand are all set to play the primal ICC World Test Championship (WTC) final, beginning 18th June 2021 at Southampton.
Amidst all the talks regarding the pace attacks of both teams, ESPNCricinfo recently interacted with the pitch curator to know about the pitch that would be on offer in the WTC final. The head groundsman at Southampton, Simon Lee is hoping to produce a pacy and bouncy wicket and also having some assistance for the spinners later on in the Test.
“Pitch preparation for this Test is a little simpler as we are a neutral venue, we are guided by the ICC, but we all want is a good pitch that offers an even contest between the teams,” Lee told ESPNcricinfo.
“For me personally I just want to get something out that has some pace, bounce and carry in the pitch.
“It can be a hard thing to do in England as the weather doesn’t help us most of the time, but the forecast in the build-up is good with a lot of sun, so we are hopeful that we’ll get some pace and a hard pitch without over-rolling it and killing it.”
Simon Lee is hoping to prepare an ideal Test match wicket- a pitch that cricket lovers have to watch every ball.
“Pace just makes red-ball cricket exciting, I’m a cricket fan and I want to produce a pitch where the cricket lovers have to watch every ball in case they miss something, be that some class batting or an amazing spell of bowling.
“A maiden over can be quite exciting if it’s a battle of skill between both bowler and batter. So, yeah, if we can get some pace and bounce in the pitch, but not too one-sided towards seam movement, we’ll be happy,” he said.
The WTC final between India and New Zealand is now only a few days away. The excitement around the primal final of the two-year-long cycle of the competition has kept the cricket fans on the edge of their seats. The finalists are all prepping up the biggest game in the history of Test cricket.
New Zealand has already shown their potential in the headstart they received in the freshly concluded two-match Test series against England. They won the series 1-0 series while also achieving the feat of winning against the team in the format for the first time since 1998. The team also topped the ICC Test Team Rankings. They must be roaring with confidence. The bowlers of the Black Caps, who have already shown their shimmery form in the series, would be too excited to relish the swinging conditions at Ageas Bowl in Southampton.
Nonetheless, team India has also been in exquisite form in the recently played Test matches. The India bowlers will also be equally excited about bowling on a track where swing and seam are offered. The bowling stock looks fierce, having bowlers like Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammad Shami, Ishant Sharma, and Mohammad Siraj who make up for a formidable fast-bowling unit. Without a shadow of a doubt, the final promises a fierce competition between the two teams.