Trent Boult and Tim Southee can swing the ball at varying degrees of pace and Rohit Sharma will have to negate the threats during the World Test Championship (WTC) final at Southampton, starting June 18.
Boult’s performance in the second test against England helped the Kiwis to a win, while also sending a message that the side is ready for a formidable Indian challenge.
Tim Southee may have watched the second Test from the sidelines, but his showing in the first Test (including a six-for in the first innings) was proof that NZ’s two best bowlers were ready and raring to go. The question is whether Rohit Sharma is in the same frame of mind.
Rohit Sharma’s well-documented struggles against pace & swing
For accuracy’s sake, let’s call it sheer pace instead. Boult was a handful for the English batsmen, cramping them for room and having them edge one.
Sharma has a tendency to be deceived by swing bowling and anything that goes away from the body sees him take a swipe. Known for struggling with his footwork early in the innings, Rohit could be troubled by Boult’s ability to cramp batsmen for room.
Boult is more than capable of delivering a hard length and getting some swing with the new cherry. He can get the better of the opener in the WTC clash by forcing him to edge one either to the wicketkeeper or to the slip cordon.
It remains to be seen if Rohit Sharma has learned any weaknesses that Boult has which he could look to exploit. After all, both players share a dressing room playing for the Mumbai Indians in the IPL.
The Tim Southee threat in the WTC final
Tim Southee will be one of the bowlers eager to fox Rohit Sharma with his well-disguised slower deliveries in the WTC.
In the recently concluded T20I series between India and England, the Indian opener got out to slower balls in two of the three innings he played.
It could well have been three out of three had Jofra Archer held onto a simple return catch. While the format may have been different, there is still enough to suggest that this ploy may work in Southee’s favor.
Southee’s 6/43 against England in the first Test at Lord’s was ample proof that he had managed to adapt to the conditions quickly.
It will be a litmus Test for Sharma, who comes into the WTC final on the back of a fairly good run against England in the Test series earlier this year.