The second cycle of the World Test Championship (WTC) has only just started but former Australia spinner Brad Hogg has already termed India as the “favourites”. The comment comes following Virat Kohli-led team’s astonishing 151-run victory against England in the second Test at Lord’s.
After three matches in the second cycle, with the third being the first test between West Indies and Pakistan, India sits second in the points table with 14 points. India, the runners-up of the first WTC cycle, drew the first Test in Nottingham and were also docked two points in the same game for slow-over rate.
While speaking in a video uploaded on his YouTube channel, former left-arm spinner Hogg backed his statement by saying that he cannot see any other team nail the code.
“This Indian team are going to cause a lot of havoc and they are the favorites to take the WTC in the second cycle running. I cannot see another team cracking the code of this culture right now,” explained Hogg.
Explaining his stance further, Hogg added that the second Test at Lord’s is what truly showed him that this side is the “real deal”.
“What I love about this team is that they are creating a positive culture of a team that wants to go out to win every contest. It does not matter what situation they are in, they are fighters, they get themselves out of tough situations.
“Looking back at the Brisbane Test, I just thought is this a one-off or are they the real deal? Now this Lord’s Test match shows me that they are the real deal. Virat Kohli is creating a fantastic culture,” remarked Hogg.
After stumps on Day 4, India were in a spot of bother at 181/6, with Rishabh Pant being the only recognized batsman unbeaten and the team having a 154-run lead. Pant fell cheaply at the start of day’s play and many suspected a collapse thereafter. However, bowlers Mohammed Shami (56) and Jasprit Bumrah (34) stitched an outstanding 89-run stand for the ninth wicket to, and quite literally, bat England out of the game.
Chasing 272 to win in 60 overs, England were bundled out for a paltry 120. Mohammed Siraj bagged four wickets, while Bumrah and Shami pocketed three and one, respectively. Ishant Sharma picked up two wickets as India eventually needed just 51.5 overs to get the job done.