Mumbai Indians bowling coach and Black Caps great Shane Bond says the war of words between New Zealand and India ahead of the World Test Championship final began well in advance, during the IPL season.
Speaking to Indian broadcaster Star Sports, Bond said the key battle between New Zealand fast-bowler Trent Boult and India's opening batsman Rohit Sharma – who were both Mumbai teammates in the IPL – will be one to watch, revealing that a friendly rivalry had already been brewing between the two players for four months.
"What I do know is that even during the IPL season, Trent Boult was running in, swinging the ball and hitting him (Sharma) on the pads and telling him, 'that's what is going to happen in the World Test Championship final'," Bond said with a laugh.
"So he was talking about it four months in advance. There was banter going on, which was just brilliant. Those two were very aware that they were going to come up against each other."
Boult claimed four wickets for the Black Caps in their eight-wicket win over England in the second test at Edgbaston and would love to get one over on Sharma in the final.
However, Bond believes Sharma has the ability to impose himself early, in the mould of former Australian opener Matthew Hayden, and could prove to be a challenge for Boult and New Zealand's bowling attack.
"I love Rohit Sharma as a player, I see him almost in a Matt Hayden kind of role where he goes out, as he did against England in the series in India on very difficult wickets, and he imposes himself," Bond said.
"He could come out and score very quickly, he's that sort of player, very dynamic in difficult conditions, like a Rishabh Pant, can take the game away from a team in a very good hour even when New Zealand are bowling with the new ball. So with the field up and he's such a stroke-maker, it sort of suits him being at the top of the order when the ball is hard.
"There's obviously some areas in his game which New Zealand will look to exploit but what he does do is he scores fast and if he can score fast and put runs on the board, that instantly puts pressure on the bowling attack and there's nothing worse as a bowler than going for runs, especially if you're trying to pitch the ball up."
Having coached both Sharma and Boult at the IPL-winning Mumbai side this year, Bond says he is looking forward to what will an interesting battle.
"I can't wait for the Boult-Sharma battle, with all the banter that's been going on and I'm expecting a few smiles between the boys as well."
The final will also feature some other IPL teammate matchups, including New Zealand paceman Kyle Jamieson and Indian captain Virat Kohli, who have also had their fair share of good-natured gamesmanship during their time with the Royal Challengers Bangalore.
According to Bangalore teammate Dan Christian, Jamieson managed to hide his bowling tricks with the Dukes ball from Kohli in training.
"In the first week we were here, the three of us were sitting down at the nets, and these two are talking about test cricket," Christian told The Grade Cricketer podcast.
"Virat says 'Jamo, have you bowled much with the Duke ball' and they're talking about that stuff, and Jamo is 'I've got a couple here, I'll have a bit of a bowl leading in before I go over there'.
"And Virat says: 'if you want to bowl at me in the nets I'm more than happy to face you'. And Jamo is like: 'no chance I'm going to bowl at you'. He [Kohli] would get a good look at his release point and everything he does with the Duke ball."
The gamesmanship between the two sides will likely ramp up come gameday, with the first ball of the World Test Championship final in Southampton set for Friday night.