Two cricketing powerhouses – India and New Zealand will leave stone unturned to put their best forward when they take on in the ultimate battle of Test supremacy – the highly-awaited ICC World Test Championship final in Southampton, starting on June 18. Former New Zealand cricket coach Mike Hesson believes the WTC summit clash will be an even contest between India and New Zealand as both teams boast some renowned names who can produce top-quality performances at the international stage.

The 46-year-old has worked with both Virat Kohli and Kane Williamson and keenly understands the mindset of these two legends. Hesson, who has worked with Kohli as he was the director of cricket operations with IPL franchise Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB), added that both Kohli and Williamson are good leaders. He believes the upcoming WTC final would be a test of their leadership skills.

“Both are very good leaders and yes, both are different in their style of captaincy. Kane is more of a slow-burn in the sense that he likes to put pressure over a period of time. Virat, on the other hand, is constantly looking for ways to put his side in the driver’s seat. The WTC final will be a test of captaincy for both Kane and Virat,” the former New Zealand coach was quoted by TimesofIndia.com.

“As the wicket changes from day to day, it will be interesting to see how both Kane and Virat make those little tweaks in their strategies to stay ahead.”

Ruling the roost in the ICC Test team rankings, India will take on second-placed New Zealand in the all-important final at the Rose Bowl in Southampton.

“They are even (India and New Zealand). The fact that it’s being played at a neutral venue also makes the WTC final an even contest. Assuming there are no injuries in the next couple of weeks, both sides will be at full strength, and we are in for an exciting contest,” said Hesson, who took over from John Wright in 2012 and relinquished his post as New Zealand coach in 2018.

Hesson says he is keenly looking forward to how the India top-order will fare against the swinging ball in Southampton when the cross breeze comes into play.

“I am keen to see how India’s top-order fares against the swinging ball. The ball does a bit in Southampton and as the cross breeze comes into play, it can be a challenge for the batsmen. How the Indian top order plays the New Zealand pacers could decide the outcome,” Hesson said.