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WTC Final: Don't think England Tests will give us huge advantage: NZ Coach Stead

By Pti

Southampton, June 15: The two-Test series against England was certainly advantageous but New Zealand coach Gary Stead doesn't feel that it's as big a deal as it is being made out to be compared to their World Test Championship final rivals India's lack of game time.

New Zealand secured a rare Test win in England during a two-match series in the run-up to the World Test Championship final against India beginning on June 18.

"I am not sure if it is an advantage or disadvantage really, it is nice that we have managed to get over her and play some cricket," Stead said during a virtual press conference when asked if it was an advantage for New Zealand.

Stead didn't forget to mention that shortened IPL also meant that India's top stars got time to freshen up which wouldn't have been the case if the T20 league would have continued till end of May.

"I guess the advantage for India is that IPL being shortened, or people would still be playing from the Indian team. So it is a little bit of a different situation for us.

"No doubt, as a coach, I am pleased that we had some time here and had a couple of test cricket matches. I think it is good for us in getting ready for this Test match."

Stead said, "It is a real privilege and pleasure to be part of the WTC final. For us, it was an interesting road getting here and we played interesting cricket for the last couple of years to get here. But we are aware of the strength of this Indian side and they are worthy finalists and really looking forward to the battle next week."

Talking about New Zealand's pace bowling options, Stead said: "It is a nice problem to have. Matt Henry bowled beautifully in that Test, he has been in the group more recently as a backup option for us.

"We know Matt's ability as well and especially in English condition, he can provide, guess a little bit of a point of difference over other guys with his ability to swing the ball ... Colin de Grandehomme coming back in the squad of 15, so we have really got six seamers we can choose from for this final."

India coach Ravi Shastri had recently said that best-of-three Tests would be an ideal way of judging the winner of the World Test Championship rather than just one Test but Stead spoke about the practical difficulties.

Stead said: "I know Ravi (Shastri) has mentioned the possibility of three Tests series, I am certainly not against that but the hardest thing is to find the time in the ICC calendar to actually make that work.

"It is a great honour to be here whether it's one or three Test matches, so we are looking forward to what's in front of us. What will be in the future will be around what ICC determines is the best way forward on a series like this”.

New Zealand opener Devon Conway had recently scored a double hundred on Test debut against England and Stead said it has certainly boosted his confidence.

"For Devon to get a double hundred on debut, no doubt in his mind has given him confidence that he fits into this level," he said.

"Kane (Williamson) and Ross (Taylor) have been amazing for New Zealand for a long period of time and along with the whole group, we are hoping that they get the best out of themselves for this game as well.

"As a coach, you try and make sure there are no weak areas. I am really pleased that our players had some match times in the last 2-3 weeks to get themselves ready for this big occasion."

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Story first published: Tuesday, June 15, 2021, 20:07 [IST]
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