ISLAMABAD   -  Cricket great Richard Hadlee believes it is still too soon to declare a favourite in next month’s ICC World Test Championship Final but is looking forward to a clash between the two of the best batting and bowling units in the game, International Cricket Council reported on Tuesday.

India and the Black Caps finished first and second respectively on the ICC WTC standings and will face each other at the Hampshire Bowl from June 18 to 22 in the decider. It is a match that will pit two of the world’s leading batsmen and captains against one another in Virat Kohli and Kane Williamson, as well as an all-star array of bowling and batting talent. Hadlee says that while cooler conditions could favour the nation he represented 201 times, the match will be decided by which side prepares the best and adapts the quickest.

“It all comes down as to who is better prepared and who adapts better to the English conditions the quickest,” he said. “The weather may also play a part and if it is cold that will favour New Zealand. The Duke ball will suit both teams’ 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. “Both teams have high-class batsmen so it will be an interesting game to watch. It is too difficult to call a winner at this stage.”

While the Black Caps have suffered heartbreak in each of the past two ICC Cricket World Cup Finals, Hadlee is confident neither they nor India will go into June’s match feeling the pressure. “We have a proud record in 50 over World Cups. Yes, those near misses were frustrating and disappointing but we were so close to winning in 2019 at Lord’s. I would go as far as to say there were no winners and losers on that day – it was just by a technicality that England won! 

“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 team advantage. “It is something to look forward to. Both teams deserve to be contesting the final because of their consistent playing performances over a set period of time.”