WTC final: India a very hard opponent, says Ross Taylor

New Zealand batsman Taylor understands that it will be a daunting task to tame the Virat Kohli-led side, when they meet in Southampton on Friday.

India captain Virat Kohli shares a light moment with New Zealand batsman Ross Taylor during the tour in 2020.   -  FILE PHOTO/AP

New Zealand batting ace Ross Taylor is looking forward to play against “really hard opponent” India in the World Test Championship final in Southampton from Friday.

“You go through the Indian line-up, and there are just world-class players throughout. Whatever side they decide to go with, it will have world-class players. India has been a world No. 1 side for a long time. They will be a very tough opposition,” Taylor said during a media interaction on Tuesday.

The New Zealand team has had a fair amount of game time in England and defeated the host in a two-match Test series recently. “It was an ideal preparation, having played two Test matches against England in these conditions. Cannot think of anything better,” Taylor said.

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“But India has been a fantastic side for a long period of time -- not only their batters, but also their bowlers. They won a series against Australia in its home summer, and it was great to watch. (It was) nice for the New Zealand public to see some world-class bowling against a very good Australian attack. They have a fair lot of success here as well. I am sure in the warm-up games or bowling at the nets, they would have enjoyed the swing and the bounce that the Dukes ball has. We are looking forward to the challenge,” he added.

New Zealand hasn’t won an ICC event since 2000 but Taylor is optimistic that the team will put its best foot forward in the WTC final.

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The loss to England in the 2019 World Cup final still hurts Taylor. “It is disappointing to have lost that match at Lord’s a couple of years ago. I guess, when you lose, you feel that it might be the last time you are playing a World Cup final, so it is nice for me to be here. If we did win that game, I might have retired after that. I am glad I did not, and I am here today,” he said.

Talking about his role as a senior player, Taylor said: “As a player, you lead by example on and off the field and try to help other senior players and management. You help and teach young players what it is like to be an international cricketer in various conditions.”

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