Australia red-ball skipper Tim Paine has no doubt that India will trump New Zealand comfortably to emerge victorious in the inaugural World Test Championship final. World's top-two Test teams will fight it out for the title at the Ageas Bowl in Southampton from June 18.
"My prediction is, India will win pretty comfortably if they play anywhere near their best," Paine said at a press conference in Brisbane.
Paine had captained Australia against both New Zealand and India.
While Australia beat the Kiwis 3-0 at home in 2019, they suffered a 1-2 defeat against India when Virat Kohli's side travelled Down Under in early 2020.
New Zealand are coming into the match well-prepared, following their 1-0 series-win over hosts England but for Paine, it won't count for much as he believes the win came against a depleted home side.
England did not have all-rounders Ben Stokes, Chris Woakes and Moeen Ali in their line-up apart from missing Jos Buttler, pacer Jofra Archer and wicketkeeper Ben Foakes.
It's a fact which makes him believe that the Ashes series later in the summer would be an altogether different ball game.
"I think New Zealand are a good team, for one, and secondly if we're being realistic I think it's a really different team that we saw England out on the field to what we're probably going to see in the Ashes keeping it in perspective it certainly wasn't England's strongest team," he said.
Paine also felt that Australia needs to build squad depth like India did in the past few years.
"It's important now we build depth in our squad so we can cover it. Ideally we don't have guys pulling out of tours but guys who are rested for a reason and we can plan ahead," Paine was quoted as saying by the Sydney Morning Herald.
"We're seeing that with India at the moment. They're getting the balance absolutely spot on because they've got a real depth of talent who can step up and play Test cricket.
"We need to get to that stage so we can rest our best players so we can make sure when we've got them on the park they're fresh and playing at their best," Paine added.
Australian cricketers spent 14-days in quarantine in Sydney before reuniting with their families after the Indian Premier League was suspended last month.
They are again gearing up for limited-overs tour of the West Indies and unconfirmed T20 tour of Bangladesh.
The postponed IPL is set to resume in the UAE during September followed by the T20 World Cup during October and early November after which the players from Down Under will have to quarantine upon returning home.
Australia then play a Test against Afghanistan in late November followed by the Ashes series starting December 8.