New Zealand train for England series and World Test Championship final - in pictures
Two match series will serve as build-up to Test title clash against India in Southampton on June 18
New Zealand ramped up preparations for a crucial month of Test cricket in London on Monday, with their eyes firmly on the World Test Championship final against India.
The Black Caps take on England in a short two-Test series, which begins at Lord's on Wednesday. While Joe Root's team are a formidable outfit, the Kiwis will see the next two Tests as preparation for the main course – the Test championship final against Virat Kohli's India on June 18 in Southampton.
New Zealand lost the last two 50-over World Cup finals and the Test championship, therefore, is a chance for the golden generation of New Zealand cricket to win a title match.
Left-arm pacer Neil Wagner too sees the match against the Indians as a World Cup title decider.
"It is like a World Cup final for me," Wagner said.
"The biggest disappointment in my career is that I've never really played a white-ball game for New Zealand or never been able to crack into the T20 or the one-day game. That ship has probably sailed now.
"For me now, it's about putting all my focus and energy into Test cricket and to be able to play in a World Test Championship final is like a World Cup for me.
"I know this final is the first and there isn't a lot of history around it, but it's the start of something that's pretty big."
The clash between India and New Zealand is set to take place in a bio-secure environment at the Ageas Bowl.
The match was supposed to be held at Lord's, but because of the coronavirus pandemic it was moved to Southampton – the home of Hampshire – as the venue has on-site hotel facilities.
India will arrive in the UK on June 3 via a charter flight and carrying evidence of a negative PCR test, having spent 14 days in a bio-secure environment back home prior to travelling.
Published: May 31, 2021 03:01 PM