'I think the underdog tag has gone away from New Zealand' - Ajit Agarkar opens up ahead of high profile WTC clash

Ajit Agarkar warns India ahead of the WTC final against New Zealand starting on June 18.

Ajit Agarkar
Ajit Agarkar. (Photo by Ramesh Sharma/India Today Group/Getty Images)

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Cricket-turned commentator Ajit Agarkar is one of the many experts who just cannot contain the excitement for the upcoming ICC World Test Championship final (WTC) between New Zealand and India which is set to begin on June 18 in Southampton.

Former pacer Agarkar had added that the underdog tag does not apply to the Blackcaps anymore. Always labeled with the underdog tag for many years, the Kiwis have certainly turned a corner, first under Brendon McCullum and now going strong under the inspirational leader Kane Williamson.

Agarkar also expressed that Virat Kohli-led India too will be wary of the threat their opposition possesses as evidenced by the fact on how well New Zealand have performed in the recent ICC events entering the finals in World Cup 2019 and the 2015 World Cup. Speaking to Star Sports, Agarkar shared his thoughts on the same.

“I hope not. I don’t think the Indian team will be guilty of underestimating the Kiwis. I think the underdog tag has gone away from New Zealand.”

The former pacer was also lavish in praise about team New Zealand’s consistency especially in the last four years and stated Blackcaps are certainly considered one of the top teams going around at present.

“Every ICC tournament you look at – whether it’s the T20 World Cup, the Champions Trophy, the World Cup; they always turn up, they’re always there in the thereabout. If not the finals, then in the quarterfinals or the semi-finals. And that’s a testament to their consistency,” added Agarkar.

Ajit Agarkar’s warning to India ahead of the WTC final

The cricketer-commenter also shared his views on the last series which the two teams were part of in January 2020. At that time, New Zealand had come on top by comprehensively beating India 2-0. Agarkar also expressed that the conditions in England will be very similar and the Kiwis might pose a serious threat.

“They beat India comprehensively when India toured New Zealand and the conditions are likely to be very similar. So, India will have to play well to beat New Zealand in this contest,” said Agarkar.

The Indian team will arrive in England on June 03, while New Zealand will compete against England in a two-match Test series starting on June 02.