New Zealand No Longer Underdogs, India Won’t Underestimate Them in ICC WTC Final: Ajit Agarkar

Former India bowler Ajit Agarkar said India will not make the mistake of underestimating New Zealand in the ICC World Test Championship final in Southampton. The two teams will begin the historic Test on June 18.

Agarkar, on Star Sports’ Cricket Connected chat show, said New Zealand are not underdogs in world cricket anymore.

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“I hope not. I don’t think the Indian team would be guilty to underestimate them (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,” Agarkar said.

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“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.”

Recently, former India batsman Sunil Gavaskar said it’s not necessary that New Zealand have an edge just because they’re playing two Tests against England prior to the Test championship final.

“The pessimists are suggesting that playing two Tests before the WTC finals will be a huge plus for the Kiwis as they will be match ready and better acclimatised to the conditions,” Gavaskar wrote in a column in The Telegraph.

“The flip side of playing those two Tests is that New Zealand could get beaten and thus be low on morale when they take on India and there could be some injuries and niggles to some of their key players which can happen in early June in England.”

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