Fierce rivals on the pitch and close friends off it, New Zealand skipper Kane Williamson thinks it would be “quite cool” to walk out for toss alongside his Indian counterpart Virat Kohli in the inaugural ICC World Test Championship final starting June 18 in Southampton.
Both Kohli and Williamson are looking for that elusive ICC silverware under their leadership and the Black Caps skipper is aware that it won’t be easy against a “world class Indian fast bowling attack”.
“…we have played against each other in so many different levels and competitions and have known each other fairly well. So, it will be quite cool walking out there, doing the toss and having a bit of contact in the first Test Championship Final,” Williamson told the ICC’s official website when asked about his rivalry with India captain since their U-19 days in 2008.
Williamson said that he is well aware of India’s bowling depth and their recent historic series win in Australia.
“Yeah, they have got a fantastic attack. Brilliant, obviously a brilliant side. Throughout we have seen the depth they have as well, certainly saw that in Australia as well.
“A lot of strengths in their fast bowling and spin department. So yeah, a brilliant side, ranked right up the top, which is fair enough and an exciting opportunity for us to be involved in the final taking on the best,” the New Zealand skipper said.
Playing with Dukes ball in a different set-up where there would be forecast of rain is something that Williamson is keeping in mind.
He expects the Southampton pitch to have less grass cover in days leading up to the final.
“Mow it a bit, give it a roll maybe! I do not know the team yet, let us see what the conditions are. What we have seen so far is pretty much rain, every day. It is nice to be outside to be honest, just getting some experience facing the duke in different conditions.”
New Zealand’s primary worry against India will be to choose between a No.7 batsman or an all-rounder and the skipper says that all cards are on the table.
“Yeah, I guess we will have to assess conditions and make those decisions. That is obviously what we try and do every time, whenever we get to a different venue and work out what might suit us,” he said.
The stylish batsman said that their heartbreaking ODI World Cup final defeat to England on boundary count is of no relevance going into the WTC final.
“No, I do not think so, certainly not something that the guys have spoken about. I guess being a different side really with a different format as well,” he explained.
“The match you mentioned was a very memorable one and obviously it had some controversy and it had everything, and people loved watching it, at the end of the day. Hopefully, it is a great spectacle, and we get a decent crowd, and it is a really good game!”
Williamson also mentioned that bouncer specialist Neil Wagner will play a pivotal role against India as the enforcer.
“His ability to bowl long spells and keep applying pressure for long periods of time has been something that has made him so successful at the international level. He is a big member of our side and a big character in our team. It is always great to have him along.”
The soft-spoken skipper didn’t forget to mention that New Zealand’s success has a lot to do with the set-up that was created when Brendon McCullum was captain and Mike Hesson, the chief coach.
“Obviously, Baz and Mike Hesson took over and gave the team a strong direction that was huge in creating a much-improved environment,” he said.