ICC WTC Final, Ind vs NZ: Virat Kohli’s secret weapon to tackle Neil Wagner challenge

ICC WTC Final, WTC Final, Virat Kohli, Arzan Nagwaswalla
ICC WTC Final, Ind vs NZ: Virat Kohli has Arzan Nagwaswalla as his secret weapon to tackle Neil Wagner's challenger in Southampton.

ICC WTC Final, Ind vs NZ: If there is one New Zealand cricketer who will be a big challenge for the likes of Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma in Southampton in the World Test Championships it is Neil Wagner. While he has played only two Tests on English soil, the 35-year is one of many of the Kiwis to boast county cricket experience. Wagner has played two season seasons with the Essex side. However, the Indian squad possess a secret weapon to prepare for the Wagner challenge.

23-year-old Arzan Nagwaswalla’s choice as a reserve bowler in India’s 24-member squad to the UK surprised many but the ability to simulate Wagner’s awkward line of attack was a big factor behind the left-arm seamer’s selection. “I like to bowl to a plan and set up a batsman up. I will do the same to our batsmen during the nets and make it tough for them so that they are match-ready,” he told InsideSport.

ICC WTC Final, Ind vs NZ: What does Arzan Nagwaswalla bring for Indian batsmen?

Indian batsmen will have a task cut out when they face two left-arm pacers in Trent Boult and Wagner from both sides. So, getting a left-arm pacer to prepare the batsmen with the short ball is vital in preparations for the inaugural event. It was something Nagwaswalla is adept at. He loves bouncers and good in-swingers to right-handers, something the Indian top-order will benefit a lot from. The left-arm pacer is always one half of Gujarat’s bowling attack in Ranji Trophy when the plan is to trouble the opposition with bouncers.

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And although he had no idea he would be picked for such a “big tournament”, he certainly picked up small tricks to improve his bouncers during his stint with Mumbai Indians.

The Gujarat pacer, who now trains at the local ground in Nagrol, would observe small habits of India’s spearhead Jasprit Bumrah and try to inculcate them in his training routine. Bumrah is known for his short balls and one of the reasons behind his precise deliveries is his training approach. “Even after the training was over (at Mumbai Indians), Bumrah would train solo with just one stump. That really helped him in improving his line and length and also analyse the pitching of the ball. I have also started doing it now,” Nagwaswalla said.

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The Indian team is expected to gather in Mumbai on May 19 for a two-week hard quarantine. They will then fly to England in a chartered flight on June 2, where they will have to stay in a week-long quarantine before they start training.

ICC WTC Final – India squad

India’s squad: Rohit Sharma, Shubman Gill, Mayank Agarwal, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli (Captain), Ajinkya Rahane (vice-captain), Hanuma Vihari, Rishabh Pant (wicket-keeper), R. Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Axar Patel, Washington Sundar, Jasprit Bumrah, Ishant Sharma, Mohd. Shami, Md. Siraj, Shardul Thakur, Umesh Yadav, KL Rahul (subject to fitness clearance), Wriddhiman Saha (wicket-keeper; subject to fitness clearance).

Standby players: Abhimanyu Easwaran, Prasidh Krishna, Avesh Khan, Arzan Nagwaswalla