WTC final: NZ pace pack 'nice problem to have' says coach Stead

Ahead of the World Test Championship final, New Zealand head coach Gary Stead is not willing to rest on the laurels and insists that it will be an intense battle against India.

File picture of Gary Stead (right) and Kane Williamson.   -  AP

The Test series win against England has boosted New Zealand’s confidence ahead of the World Test Championship final, but head coach Gary Stead is not willing to rest on the laurels and insists that it will be an intense battle against India.

“For us, it has been an interesting road getting here and we have played some good cricket over the past couple of years to get here. But we are aware of the strength of the Indian side and they are worthy finalists. We are looking forward to the battle,” Stead said in a media interaction on Tuesday.

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New Zealand reached England last month and has had substantial game time, whereas India just had an intra-squad game leading up to the final. “As a coach, I am pleased that we had some time here and had a couple of Test matches. I think it is good for us in getting ready for this Test match.” Stead said.

Talking about New Zealand’s pace bowling battery, Stead admitted that “it is a nice problem to have” ahead of the big game. “Matt Henry bowled beautifully in that Test (against England). 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 came back in the squad of 15, so we have really got six seamers we can choose from for this final,” he added.

Before leaving for England, India head coach Ravi Shastri had stated that best-of-three Tests would be an ideal way to decide the winner of the WTC. “I know Ravi 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,” Stead said.

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“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 what is the best way forward on a series like this.”

In the series against England, Devon Conway stamped his class by scoring a double century on debut at Lord’s and that, Stead feels, has 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 performers 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 to 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 to be ready for this big occasion,” the coach said.

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