With the conditions at the Ageas Bowl in Southampton expected to favour the seamers, New Zealand, who boast of some world class swing bowlers in their line-up, will start as outright favourites for the World Test Championship final.
The Kiwis will be buoyed by their splendid showing in the 1-0 win in the Test series against England, despite leaving out several key players from the second and final match.
On the other hand, India are desperately short of match practice having spent a couple of weeks in quarantine. Their only real practice ahead of the WTC final will be the couple of intra-squad games, where they attempted to simulate real match situations.
But as we saw in Australia earlier this year, you can never rule out the Indians, who triumphed Down Under despite losing many of their key players to injury.
India will also be keen to set the record straight after suffering a 2-0 whitewash in New Zealand in 2019-2020.
They will relying on Captain Virat Kohli to lead from the front with the bat in conditions which are expected to be difficult for batsmen.
Senior pros Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane and Rohit Sharma will be expected to deliver the goods in the summit clash.
India have placed their trust on the young Shubman Gill ahead of Mayank Agarwal as the second opener along with Rohit. Gill didn't have a good run in the home Test series against England, finishing with just 119 runs in four Tests, but he got a big vote of confidence from the team management after being named in India's 15-member squad for the WTC final.
The gutsy Hanuma Vihari is another handy option in the lower middle order if India decide to include an extra batting option.
Team India faces a problem of plenty when it comes to the bowling department.
The difficult choice for the team management would be the selection of pace bowlers in the playing XI.
While Jasprit Bumrah, Ishant Sharma and Mohammed Shami are certainties, it would be difficult to ignore Mohammed Siraj, who bowled his heart out in Australia. Umesh Yadav included ahead of Shardul Thakur, is another bowler capable of running through the opposition on his day courtesy of his ability to move the ball at a good pace.
Among the spinners it remains to be seen if India pick both Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja, who are also quite handy with the bat.
If they go in with one spinner, the Jadeja could get the nod given his control with the ball and his ability in the field.
Should India go in with four pace bowlers and one spinner or three pacers and two spinners?
Who among Ashwin and Jadeja should be included?
Who do you think should be part of India's playing XI in the ICC WTC final against New Zealand?
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