'They'll be taking confidence' - De Villiers' surprise WTC final prediction
Retired for nearly five years from the international stage, AB de Villiers still keeps a close eye on developments within the top-level game. The South African batting legend has been following the World Test Championship (WTC) 2021-23 cycle and is looking forward to its marquee final at The Oval from Wednesday (June 7).
Before arch-rivals India and Australia lock horns for the ultimate supremacy, the Proteas great announced his prediction for the game. The great cricketer shocked everyone by picking India to eventually come out on top in their clash with the Aussies despite majority of fans and experts identifying the opposition as massive favourites.
Given the series of injuries India have had to deal with in the build-up to the WTC final, including to their ace speedster Jasprit Bumrah, wider consensus is that their attack is no longer a match to the Australian pace battery led by skipper Pat Cummins, which, in English conditions, could invariably be the difference between the two sides.
De Villiers, however, believes India have the zeal and skill to withstand the Aussie wrath and come out on top by the end of the esteemed fixture. The former South Africa captain also cited India's famous win at The Oval in their 2021 encounter against England to press home his prediction.
De Villiers backs India to nail WTC final
Speaking on 'JioCinema', De Villiers gave India a surprise vote for ultimate honours at the WTC final, in stark contrast to the wider cricketing populace, which feels Australia stand on the verge of recording their maiden WTC title win and once again leaving the Indians dismay at the tournament's final hurdle.
"Very difficult to say who are the favorites. Both teams have not been playing a lot of Test cricket of late but what I can say is that India in their last Test match at the Oval have got a win against this very strong England team. They will be taking a bit of confidence from that," De Villiers said.
"I think India will come out on top on day five of the Test match. I think it might go all the way. It's a good wicket to bat on but I think the Indian spinners will come into play in the latter stages of the Test match," he added.
De Villiers also backed his friend and former IPL teammate Virat Kohli to produce the goods for the side and be the hero for the Indian team in conquering the mighty Australian attack, just like he has previously in his heyday.