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Australia Favourites On Paper But Indian Players Have Edge In Terms Of Match Fitness: Shastri Ahead Of WTC Final

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Shastri, Ponting and Pakistan legend Wasim Akram all feel that the Oval track will remain fresher than it usually is as it has never hosted a Test match in June in the venue’s 140-year history.

The Australian platoon on paper holds a slight advantage on a bouncy Oval track but both Ravi Shastri and Ricky Ponting feel that the Indians are more set for the World Test Championship (WTC) final morning on Wednesday with IPL( Indian Premier League) game- time under their belt.

Shastri, Ponting and Pakistan legend Wasim Akram all feel that the Oval track will remain fresher than it generally is as it has no way hosted a Test match in June in the venue’s 140- time history.

Shastri, a former India head trainer who guided the platoon to the initial WTC final in 2021, felt that had Jasprit Bumrah been there, India would have started on an even ship if not as favourite.

“I would say if you look at the pace attack, if Bumrah was there, I would say it was equal with an attack of Mohammad Shami, Bumrah and Mohammed Siraj. But that Aussie attack with Starc, Cummins, may be the match fitness will come into play, ” Shastri said at the ICC’s ‘ Afternoon with Test Legends ’ event.

Shastri feels that indeed if it was two months of T20 justice, game time does make a difference. Ponting and Akram both concurred with Shastri.

“Match fitness might come into play, ” Shastri reckoned.

“You need some justice behind you and staying on the demesne for six hours for five days is different from bowling in nets for two hours every day, ” he said.

“Shami might be crucial as he has been playing a lot of justice, ” Shastri added.

In fact, Ponting also sounded in two minds whether being fresh without a lot of games is better than playing some violent T20 justice.

“Some of the Aussies have done nothing and not played anything. Coming in fresh, is that better? Or coming tired slightly bored but playing lot of justice, what’s better, ” said Ponting, without a definite answer.

Akram’s take on workload issue has been harmonious over the times.

“I, as a player, like having justice (games) behind me. Format doesn’t matter as long as I’m playing. It’s better to have event like IPL. ”

Shastri, who was in the Indian dressing room when they lost the rain- marred final at the Southampton in 2021, said that effects have been fully different in this cycle.

“When you don’t win, it hurts as you aren’t there to fill in figures. But if I look in hindsight, compared to that World Test Championship cycle, it’s chalk and rubbish.

“There was COVID- 19, insulations. It was hard on players, 14 days in insulation and also seven days of training. Then, both brigades have had time to prepare and this bone will be a good contest, ” he said.

For Akram, who has played further than a decade of county justice in England, substantially for Lancashire, a platoon he also captained, a June Test match in Oval will have its own set of conditions.

“In Oval, you play a Test match either in last week of August or during first or alternate week of September when the pitch is bone sot. But this time it’s a fresh pitch and it’s early June. There will be a lot further brio. The Dukes swings lot more and for longer time and stays a lot harder than Kookaburra. I suppose Australia will be slightly favourites, ” the ‘ Sultan of Swing ’ said.

For former Australia commander Ponting, the conditions at the Oval in the month of June, bring pledge of a sunny rainfall. He said it reminds him further of conditions back home rather than English.

“no way been in a Test match held at the Oval in June( since 1880). The pitch should be perfect. It’s a neutral ball( Dukes and not Kookaburra or SG Test) at neutral venue and it( Dukes) does( confluence and swing) longer( ages of time). You look at this venue, it’s more like an Aussie venue than English. Conditions slightly favour Australia, ” he said. Know More WTC Latest News…

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