New Delhi: India will face Australia in the final of the World Test Championship at the Oval starting June 7.
In a recent interaction with Starsports, Ravi Shastri, who was the Indian team coach in the last World Test Championship final, made a significant comment about Jasprit Bumrah regarding the favourite tag. He revealed his two favourite bowling attacks; in Bumrah’s absence, he picked up Australian pacers as his favourites.
“Look at the pace attacks. Which side has the better attack? If Bumrah was here, then I would say equal, with Shami, Bumrah and Siraj. But now when you look at that Australian attack – Cummins and Starc, though Hazlewood is gone,” he said.
Ricky Ponting, who was also part of the panel, further said that Michael Nesser can be a good replacement for Hazlewood, who has been ruled out of the tournament due to injury.
“Nesser has obviously been doing great here in County cricket but Boland has got an excellent record. What we have seen in Australia is that when there is anything in the surface at all, he has just been about Australia’s best bowler. He will take Hazlewood’s place,” he said.
Ponting further said that even though there is not much difference between India and Australia, the Aussies are still his favourites.
When asked about the WTC final, Ponting picked Australia as favourites. “Slight favourites, yes. There wasn’t much a difference between the two sides in the last two years which means that they have beaten more oppositions than they have lost to,” he explained. Akram sided with the former Australia skipper as well, saying, “Australia slight favorites.”
Ravi Shasti compared the situation of the 2021 and 2023 finals
“When you don’t win it, it’s obviously going to hurt. and it should hurt. You are not there just to make the numbers. You are going to play to win and you want to win. But if I look in hindsight, the circumstances of that World Test Championship as opposed to now is chalk and cheese. It was tough times. There was Covid, there was quarantine. When it came to preparation too, it was hard on the players. You are 14 days in isolation and then in a week’s time, you play the game. While now, both teams have had enough time. They have been playing competitive cricket. I think this one will be a really good contest,” Shastri said in the ICC event ‘Afternoon With Test Legends.’