Former New Zealand all-rounder Richard Hadlee has credited India for keeping Test cricket alive. With teams like Pakistan, South Africa and West Indies struggling, it’s India, Australia, England and New Zealand who put up worth watching Test matches. Among the aforementioned teams, India is the only team that has done well away from home, having won a series in Australia twice. Else, today, the Test matches are hugely in favour of the host nations which has sucked up the excitement of Test cricket.
“There is no doubt India produces a lot of revenue for cricket. Without India, the face of world cricket would be very different, therefore cricket needs India,” Hadlee, who formed a world-class quartet of all-rounders in 1970s and 1980s along with Imran Khan, Kapil Dev and Ian Botham, told The Times of India.
“ India has also made an outstanding contribution to Test cricket — like in all formats. Their Test performances in Australia were outstanding despite that 36 all out blip. They bounced back superbly, and Test cricket came alive again. So many youngsters came into the team and performed. It showed the great depth of talented players India have in all formats,” He added.
India is gearing up for a mouth-watering clash with New Zealand for the World Test Championship title. While many experts believe that New Zealand has a slight advantage going into the final as they would have played a series against England, Hadlee believes that neither India nor New Zealand will start as favourites as the match will be played on a neutral venue.
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“The Test Championship is a one-off game. Yes, it is a final, but I don’t think either team will be too fazed about it. It is a neutral ground with no home advantage. It is something to look forward to,” he said.
The 69-year old further added that adapting to the conditions will be the key, adding that batting won’t be the easiest task. He further opined that if the ball swings, New Zealand will be happier of the two sides as they have plenty of quality swing bowlers available at their disposal.
“It all comes down as to who is better prepared and who adapts better to English conditions the quickest. The weather may also play a part and if it is cold, that will favour New Zealand. The Dukes ball will suit both team’s fast bowlers, especially the genuine swing bowlers, and the Kiwis are well-served in that department with Southee, Boult and Jamieson. If the ball seams around off the pitch, batsmen in both teams will be challenged.”
Post the World Test Championship final, India will lock horns will England in a five-match Test series.
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