MUMBAI: Former India pacer Ajit Agarkar has said that the Virat Kohli-led side would not underestimate New Zealand in the finals of the World Test Championship (WTC).
India and New Zealand will lock horns in the finals of WTC at the Ageas Bowl, Southampton, beginning June 18. Before that, New Zealand will also play two-match Test series against England, beginning June 2 at Lord’s.
“I hope not. I don’t think the Indian team would be guilty to underestimate the Kiwis. I think the underdog tag has gone away from New Zealand. Every ICC tournament you look at – okay, this is the first of its kind, Test championship – every ICC tournament, whether it’s the T20 World Cup, the Champions Trophy, the World Cup; they always turn up, they’re always there in the thereabout,” said Agarkar on Star Sports’ show ‘Cricket Connected’.
“If not the finals, then in the quarterfinals or the semi-finals. And that’s a testament to their consistency. So, the underdog tag should go. Yes, there are, perhaps bigger names in some of the other teams and that’s why you count them as favorites. So, I don’t think India will be underestimating them. They beat India comprehensively well when India toured New Zealand and the conditions are likely to be very similar to what India got in New Zealand. So, India will have to play well to beat New Zealand in this contest,” he added.
The Indian Men’s team will arrive in the UK on June 3, 2021 via a charter flight and carrying evidence of a negative PCR Test, ICC said in an official release. Prior to travelling, the party will have spent 14 days in a bio-secure environment in India during which regular testing is being done.
Upon landing, they will proceed directly to the on-site hotel at the Hampshire Bowl where they will be tested again before commencing a period of managed isolation.
Regular tests will be conducted during the period of isolation. Players’ activity will be allowed in a gradually increasing manner after each round of negative testing, moving from exercise in isolation to small group and then larger squad activity, whilst always remaining within the bio-secure venue.
The New Zealand team is already in the UK ahead of their bilateral series against England and the team will transition from the ECB bio-secure environment into the World Test Championship Final bubble on June 15 and will be subject to regular testing prior to and post-arrival in Southampton.