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WTC Final: New Zealand is India’s Real ‘Discomfort Zone’ as Evident From Last Series, Says Sanjay Manjrekar

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Former India cricketer Sanjay Manjrekar has favoured NZ over India purely on the basis of conditions that are on offer at the venue of WTC final, Southampton. In his column for Hindustan Times, Manjrekar further wrote that the key to do well in England is play close to the body and leave the balls which are pitched outside off stump. India will take on New Zealand in the final of the WTC (World Test Championship) in June.

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“If the World Test Championship final is held in India, New Zealand would be sent packing by the hosts inside three days, but that it’s going to be played in England, and that too in the first half of the English summer, makes NZ a much bigger hurdle for India to cross to win the WTC,” he wrote.

“When in England, all the old gospels of batting resurface—play close to the body, leave that ball outside off, etc.Cricketing conditions in England are similar to those in NZ. Even if Australia is a neighbouring country, pitches in NZ are nothing like in Australia, where the ball does not swing and seam much and there is just pace and bounce.To India’s credit, their batsmen have become pretty good of late at handling pace and bounce and hence the improving record in Australia. But NZ, well, that’s India’s real ‘discomfort zone’ as was evident in how India lost the last Test series there. The highest score India could get in the three Tests was 242. To be fair, NZ themselves struggled but they were a little better than India in batting and a great distance better in bowling,” he added.

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He picked Virat Kohli and Rishabh Pant as India’s ‘game changers’ with the bat. While Kohli is one of the finest Indian batter, Pant’s resurgence at Number five led to amusement among his fans

.”Virat will be India’s game changer with the bat.Tests just seem to get the best out of him, so there is no reason to expect anything different. Virat too does not enjoy the slow, seaming conditions of the NZ kind but he knows England would be a better version of what he encountered a year ago in NZ.” “Game changer No. 2 with the bat will be Rishabh Pant. The number that he bats at, if NZ think they are through with the Indian batting after picking the top 5 they would have made the biggest mistake that could cost them the game.”

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