WTC Final: After a gruelling IPL season, is a fatigued Indian squad ready to face a fresh Australian unit?
Cheteshwar Pujara and Srikar Bharat were the only two players from the squad, who got enough time to prepare for the WTC Final between India and Australia, staring from June 7 at The Oval.
A tired Indian team will battle it out with Australia at the Oval in the final of the ICC World Test Championship. It will be hard for Team India to transition from the fast-paced T20 format to the Test format, especially considering that majority of their squad were competing in the recently concluded Indian Premier League for a span of two months before heading to England. Cheteshwar Pujara and Srikar Bharat were the only two players from the team, who got enough time to prepare for this mega event. The injuries sustained by key players like Jasprit Bumrah, Rishabh Pant and KL Rahul will also hamper their chances of winning further.
However, some of Indian players are in prime form, Shubman Gill's finished as the highest run scorer in the Indian Premier League and has displayed maturity beyond his years while facing some of the world's best bowlers and will be key to India’s success in the upcoming WTC final. Virat Kohli also had a fantastic IPL season with the bat and will be raring to go up against the Aussies at the Oval. Rohit Sharma had a season to forget in the Indian Premier League
Coming to the bowling department, Mohammad Shami and Mohammad Siraj were sensational in the IPL and will lead the bowling attack in the final, it will be interesting to see whether India opts for a combination of two spinners and two pacers or three pacers and one spinner. Considering the English condition and pitch, it would be advantageous for India to lean towards walking out with three pacers on 4th of June.
While Team India aims for a swift turnaround, the Australian team has enjoyed months of preparation not only for the WTC final but also for the Ashes series that follows. Only David Warner, Josh Hazlewood and Cameron Green took part in the Indian Premier League, the remaning players have had plenty of time to practice and fine tune their skills. The Aussies will be playing with a full-strength side and the likes of Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood and Pat Cummins will be salivating looking at the playing condition at Oval, where the ball tends to swing a lot more than other grounds in England. Pat Cummins and his men will fancy their chances of defeating this tired and depleted Indian side in the most awaited red ball battle of 2023.