An introspective Ross Taylor has praised the Indian setup in the lead-up to the World Test Championship Final.
Speaking to the media ahead of the inaugural Final, Taylor acknowledged the quality and depth of India across the WTC cycle, on their path to the final in Southampton.
“India have been the world number one side and have kept that bar very high for a long period of time, and everyone around the world has had to try and catch up to (them), and I don’t see any difference, it being here.”
Taylor admired the work of India’s pace attack from across the Tasman, with no fewer than seven quicks deployed in their 2-1 series victory over Australia, a crucial result for their WTC aspirations.
“Their series win against Australia during our home summer was great to watch and nice for the New Zealand public to see some world class bowling against a very good Australian attack.”
Despite losing the series 4-1 to England back in 2018, India’s pace artillery of Ishant Sharma, Mohammad Shami and Jasprit Bumrah enjoyed the foreign conditions, taking 48 wickets between them.
Umesh Yadav and Mohammad Siraj are also in the mix for selection, and Taylor believes the conditions and the Dukes Ball suit the opposition quicks to make early inroads.
“They’ve had a lot of success over here as well and I’m sure in their warm-up games and bowling in the nets they would have enjoyed the swing and the bounce that the Duke ball has. Whoever we come up against, it’s going to be very tough, but we’re looking forward to the challenge.”
Missing out on squad selection was the impressive Shardul Thakur, all-rounder Hardik Pandya, as well as top order batters Mayank Agarwal and KL Rahul. In a testament to the depth of India, 25 players have represented the team over the WTC cycle, with only Ajinkya Rahane and Cheteshwar Pujara playing all 17 Test matches in that time.
Taylor believes there is little respite for the Black Caps no matter the playing eleven written down on captain Virat Kohli’s team sheet.
“You go through the Indian line-up - just world class players all the way through and whatever side they do decide to go with, they’re going to leave out some world class players as well.
“We know whatever eleven we face is going to be very tough.”
While New Zealand played their two-match series with England, India had a more internal approach, making the most of being in Southampton by playing an intra-squad game.
Taylor enjoyed playing Test match cricket, playing himself into form with a score of 80 in the first innings of the second match, though he believes India’s preparation for the Final is no less meticulous.
“It probably gives our players a little bit more confidence but India have got a very balanced team and their depth has been amazing, and I’m sure the warm-up game that they had would have been like playing a Test match.
“Yes, we had a couple of Test matches over here, but India, regardless of whether you play them at home, away, or at a neutral venue, is going to be a very tough opposition to play against."
Personalise your homepage with an ICC account
News, fixtures and updates tailored to your favourite team. Never miss a moment!