WTC Final: Ajit Agarkar reveals what makes Virat Kohli-led Indian side a force to reckon with

Speaking exclusively on STAR SPORTS show GAME PLAN, former India pacer said it has been India’s strength during the past two years of WTC, “I think a couple of things, resilience or just belief in your ability or in your own team. Look at the England series at home, we expected India to win. Yes, the conditions suit their (India) wicket or their spin bowling, but they lost the first Test comprehensively. They came back and beat England really well in the next three Tests.

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Agarkar also talked about the rock bottom this Indian side hit in the Adelaide Test last year when the entire team was folded for just 36 in an innings and lost the game in a humiliating fashion and ended up losing key players later on in the series but they still ended up winning it. Agarkar hailed the youngsters for rising to the occasion in the absence of big stars and lifted the team and highlighted the team’s ability to win in all conditions.

WTC Final: India vs New Zealand: Virat Kohli and boys hit the ground for intense training session

“Look at Australia (series), they (India) lost that first Test, bowled out at what 36 – losing the host of your first team players, whether it’s your best batsman in the team, Virat Kohli, your best bowler in the team, Mohammad Shami, those sort of losses. By the end of the series, you had a Shardul Thakur, T Natarajan, Mohammad Siraj bowling for you, against a full-strength Australian team and you still managed to find a way to win in those situations. So, the depth in that team – even though there was not a lot of experience – the guys that came in had enough belief that they could turn up. That’s been India’s strength. There have been some tricky situations. Apart from those two Tests in New Zealand, in general, if you look at India’s records in recent times, they’ve always competed, if not won and found ways to win with different players, which has been their strength.”

Agarkar – who’s played 26 Tests and 191 ODIs for India – highlighted the challenges Team India will face during the WTC Finals against New Zealand. The WTC Final will be held at Ageas Bowl in Southampton starting June 18.

“It has certainly got a lot of variety. I mean it is because you look at someone like Jamieson who is a tall guy and will pose a different challenge. Boult and Southee both will bowl, one delivery coming into you, one delivery going away from you, as a right-hander. And then Wagner, when nothing is happening, and you know, everything seems flat, he comes and does something and has been doing it on a regular basis. So the challenges are a bit different. Also what works in their favour is the condition, because you are playing in England, it is almost like what you get in New Zealand. So that makes it a little bit easier with that Duke ball which does swing around. So the challenges are a lot.”

Agarkar also lamented the fact that Team India will go into the finals without any match practice and the last away Test it played was way back in January.

“More so because India has not had any Test cricket in recent time, not a Test cricket away from home since the Australia tour. Australian conditions are completely different. So that’s the biggest challenge. And that’s why I feel the preparations got to be the key,” he added further.

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