wtc: WTC cricket final: What will be Team India’s biggest challenge?


After India won the recent Test series against Australia by 2-1, the two sides meet again in June for World Test Championship final to be played at the Oval in England, from June 7-11. It will be a different ball game with neutral venue for both teams, Indian skipper Rohit Sharma said of the big clash in London. Apart from that Indian team will have to find sufficient time to prepare for the World Test Championship as the two-months of Twenty20 action in the Indian Premier League (IPL) gets underway from this month.

In the inaugural edition of WTC final in 2021, India lost to New Zealand by eight wickets.

Rohit Sharma said the Test team will stay connected to prepare for the World Test Championship final. “Whatever time we find after IPL, we will try and get ready for that (final),” he said.

The IPL will conclude with the final on May 28, just 10 days ahead of the WTC match, but Rohit believed some players whose IPL teams exit from the tournament early will be sent to the United Kingdom.

Rohit said he expected good workload management from his core group of long-format players during the gruelling IPL, which will return with the home and away format for the first time since the pandemic.

“Around 21st May, there will be six teams who will be possibly out of IPL play-off contention and so whichever players are available, we will try and find time to get them to (the) UK as early as possible,” he said.

The fast bowlers will be made to practise with Dukes balls, which are used in England and behave differently than the SG leather balls in India or the Kookaburra in Australia, Rohit added.Team India coach Rahul Dravid said that the limited preparation time will be a challenge: “It is going to be a challenge. There’s going to be a lot of logistics involved given the IPL final is only a week before the WTC final,” he said.

But before the IPL starts, the two sides will meet in a three-match ODI series starting in Mumbai on March 17. Steve Smith will captain Australia in the three-match ODI series against India beginning on Friday. Smith stepped into the role during the test series after regular skipper Pat Cummins returned home to be with his ailing mother, who died last week.

Australia’s stand-in-skipper Steve Smith remains excited to meet India in London. “It’s going to be great coming up against India in the final,” he said.

“The Oval, the wicket there can take spin at times particularly as the game wears on so it could be interesting in terms of what sort of wicket we get.”

“It’s a great place to play cricket, there’s usually reasonable pace and bounce for an English wicket,” Smith added.

“It’s probably as close as you get to Australia in terms of pace and bounce.”

On the Oval conditions, which will be quite different from home, Indian skipper Rohit Sharma said: “Both teams have played lot of cricket in that part of the world and I won’t say it will be alien conditions.”

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