Paine, Guha say India; Cook, Vaughan NZ

From fans to television pundits and ex-cricketers, everyone has been punting on who will win the World Test Championship final between India and New Zealand, starting in Southampton on Friday, June 18.

Former England captains Michael Vaughan and Alastair Cook reckon New Zealand will walk away with the top honours while Australia Test captain Tim Paine and former England woman’s cricketer Isa Guha are rooting for India.

New Zealand go into the WTC final on the back of a 1-0 Test series victory over hosts England last week while the last red-ball match India featured in was in March.

Here’s why Vaughan fancies New Zealand.

‘I know I’m going to get absolute pelters on social media for going against India. But the way New Zealand played in the two Tests against England, I think they’re going to do it. They are a high-class cricket team — I like every aspect of their game,’ Vaughan told the BBC.

‘New Zealand play long periods of disciplined cricket, with bat and ball. They bat with a great maturity and read the situation perfectly. If you analyse Test cricket, generally it is the side that are able to cover all the bases the longest that wins, and New Zealand are able to do that because they have a very skilful bowling attack,’ Vaughan added.

Cook feels New Zealand’s match sharpness will work in the favour of Kane Williamson and company.

Among the ones that say India have the odds stacked in their favour are former England women’s speedster-turned-commentator Isa Guha.

‘I’m going to go for India,’ says Guha. ‘They have got tremendous depth in their squad, the big guns are back and they are a quality outfit under the leadership of Virat Kohli.’

‘They’ve got an unbelievable top six — Rohit Sharma, Shubman Gill, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane, Rishabh Pant are a world-beating line-up and they’ve got pace bowlers to back it up.’

‘They have a wonderful bowling attack’ Guha added, ‘probably the best in the history of Indian cricket.’

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