The Dominion Post

Vaughan tips NZ in final

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Former England captain Michael Vaughan tips Kane Williamson to outscore Virat Kohli in England, and the Black Caps to be too strong for India in next month’s World Test Championsh­ip cricket final.

Vaughan, a guest on Spark Sport’s The Show Downstairs previewing the England tour, rated New Zealand clear favourites to win the inaugural WTC decider at Southampto­n, starting on June 18.

‘‘English conditions, the Duke ball, and India on the back of a busy schedule… they’ll arrive pretty much a week before and go straight into it, [and] New Zealand have two test matches, you could argue warmups against England to get them prepared for the final,’’ Vaughan said.

‘‘So it’s quite an obvious one for me, New Zealand will be better prepared and they’ll have more of a group of players who’ve played more cricket with the red ball, particular­ly the Duke ball here in the UK. New Zealand, all the way.’’

Coach Gary Stead and 15 of his 20-man test squad leave for England on May 15 after two camps at Lincoln, near Christchur­ch. They will join Williamson, Kyle Jamieson, Trent Boult and Mitchell Santner who will soon fly to England after the IPL was suspended, and Will Young who is playing for Durham.

The Black Caps face England in two tests at Lord’s starting June 2,

and Edgbaston starting June 10.

The Williamson versus Kohli duel will be fascinatin­g, with the Black Caps skipper rated the world’s top test batsmen and India’s captain ranked fifth behind Williamson, Steve Smith, Marnus Labuschagn­e and England skipper Joe Root.

Asked to compare the duo in English conditions, Vaughan said: ‘‘If Kane Williamson was Indian, he’d be the greatest player in the world, but he’s not because you’re not allowed

to say that Virat Kohli is not the greatest, because you’d get an absolute pelting on social media.

‘‘I’m not just saying it because I’m speaking to you guys in New Zealand but I think Kane Williamson is up there with the great players across the three formats and he certainly matches Virat Kohli. It’s just he doesn’t have the 100 million followers on Instagram and doesn’t earn the $30-40 million or whatever Virat gets every year for his commercial endorsemen­ts.

‘‘But in terms of quality and what he brings on the pitch and his consistenc­y I wouldn’t back against Kane Williamson getting more runs pro rata – let’s say three tests for Kane and six for Virat – pro rata I think Kane may score a few more runs than Virat this summer.’’

India, the current topranked test side, follow the WTC final with a five-test series against England.

Asked if this was the best Black Caps test team, Vaughan said: ‘‘It’s not difficult, you haven’t had many great teams. You’ve had great players, you go back to the 80s, Richard Hadlee and Martin Crowe were up there with the greatest to have ever played test match cricket.

‘‘As a team, Brendon McCullum’s team were exciting and vibrant but I never felt they were consistent because they let the opposition in by playing so aggressive­ly.

‘‘Under Kane Williamson you’ve started to play high class, discipline­d test match cricket over long periods, and real quality teams do it over day one to five. And it takes until the end of day five to wear a team down to get that win, this is what this New Zealand side can do.’’

 ??  ?? Rival skippers and friends Kane Williamson and Virat Kohli after New Zealand’s 2-0 test series win over India in Wellington in early 2020.
Rival skippers and friends Kane Williamson and Virat Kohli after New Zealand’s 2-0 test series win over India in Wellington in early 2020.

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