Kyle Jamieson after dismissing Virat Kohli in the first Test of their series last year
India captain Virat Kohli and Kiwi seamer Kyle Jamieson spent considerable time together playing for the Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) in IPL 2021. It will now be intriguing to see them face each other in the World Test Championship (WTC) final, according to New Zealand bowling coach Shane Jurgensen.
In fact, Kohli had almost tricked Jamieson into bowling at him with the Dukes ball the Kiwi pacer was carrying with him during the course of the tournament. Acknowledging it will be “interesting” to watch the duo go up against each other, Jurgensen opined that the Test series against England before the summit clash will provide Jamieson with good preparation.
“Well, Kyle has played with Virat at RCB and no doubt they would have exchanged some comments potentially leading into this final. So interesting times ahead. I’m sure it’s going to be great to watch Kyle. His Test career too has been outstanding so far. He has got a great opportunity to prepare well in the lead-up to the final, beginning with the two Tests versus England,” Jurgensen told The Telegraph.
Kane Williamson’s side will play an intra-squad match and two Tests against the hosts starting June 2 before travelling to Southampton for the title clash from June 18.
While the Indian skipper relishes making big stages his own, Jurgensen is specifically prepping his bowlers to deal with the threat of wicketkeeper-batsman Rishabh Pant. While the destructive southpaw is going through a rich vein of form, the Black Caps might want to capitalise on those very attacking instincts.
“He’s extremely positive-minded, but with that comes potentially the opportunity to take his wicket. Our bowlers need to execute well, stay calm and make it as difficult as possible to score runs. He’s certainly a free-flowing batsman and a tough one to stop, which we should keep in mind,” Jurgensen, who is serving his second stint as the bowling coach, added.
Rishabh Pant finished as India’s highest run-getter on the historic tour Down Under earlier this year, scoring 274 runs at an outstanding average of 68.5. He carried his form into the home season and amassed 270 runs at 54 – most of which were scored on raging turners – to help India thrash England 3-1.
“It’s a challenging bowling attack that India have” – Jurgensen
India are likely to field three seamers and two spinners in the WTC final
New Zealand have arguably one of the best seam-bowling attacks in the world comprising Trent Boult, Tim Southee, Neil Wagner and Kyle Jamieson. Jurgensen, though, spoke very highly of India’s line-up as well.
“It’s a challenging bowling attack that India have. A lot of options are available for them. It’ll be a very, very stiff challenge we could face from [Jasprit] Bumrah to Shardul [Thakur], who’s an all-rounder and has done well in Australia too. There’s Mohammed Siraj and even their spinners, who can spin it both ways. It’s a group of formidable, outstanding Test bowlers,” Jurgensen concluded.
Notably, it was the Kiwi bowlers who had the wood on their opponents the last time the two sides played in Test whites as India were whitewashed 0-2 at the start of 2020. Can they turn it around this time and be crowned the first-ever World Test champions? Only time will tell.