India's performance in the World Test Championship final against Australia has shown their preparation was not ideal, said Ricky Ponting, who especially raised questions about the readiness of their undercooked pacers.
India are staring at another unfavourable result in an ICC final after conceding a first-innings lead of 173 runs to Australia on a seaming pitch.
While Mohammed Siraj and Mohammed Shami have been potent in the game, Umesh Yadav and Shardul Thakur looked a bit rusty having not got a lot of overs under their belt in the IPL.
Thakur bowled 21 overs in the whole of IPL and Umesh bowled 19, less than what they bowled in Australia's first innings here.
"I think they have been outplayed so far. Their preparation wasn't probably ideal coming into a one-off Test what with all their players being at the IPL. You know, few of the Australian boys were there. Few of the Australian boys hadn't done anything for three months either," Ponting told PTI in a select media interaction at The Oval.
Ponting said at the end of the day it comes down to individual preparation.
"I don't know (effect on Indian batters). If you ask Virat, he would say that it's been perfect for him because he has got all sorts of runs. If you asked Rahane, he wouldn't have been picked for this match without the IPL. So it's going to work both ways.
"I had a chat with Shardul this morning, he said he's started to feel the pinch because he has not been able to get enough bowling. The over that he has bowled in a day and a half, he bowled in the whole of IPL." Ponting felt both the teams have looked rusty.
"I sort of underlined coming into this game what was the best preparation; was it out and playing pretty high quality competitive cricket in the IPL or was it better off being at home and resting up and doing a bit of non competitive training. So far it's shown that both teams have been a bit rusty.
"One-off game and in the time of the year, there's never going to be ideal preparation time for anybody. But you got to do the best you can to get prepared and get ready and try and execute it on the day. I mean, Travis Head is a great example, hasn't picked up a bat for a few months.
"It comes down to the individual," he said referring to Head's counter attacking hundred that helped Australia get 469.
Given how Rahane has played, selectors have to take big calls
Ajinkya Rahane's 89 against a formidable pace attack and in a comeback game makes Ponting wonders why he was not in the team in the first place.
"He played beautifully. I said at the lunch break when you can play like that, you wonder why he hasn't been picked in the team... he has always been a classy looking player, player that has a good defence, we know his record suggests that he plays at his best when his team needs him the most.
"He has got few more Tests against the West Indies. If he makes runs in those games, with (Shreyas) Iyer and KL Rahul getting fit, the selectors will have some big decisions to make," said the former Australia captain who is a WTC ambassador and is commentating on the final.
Ponting added that he would not change anything to the current WTC format and is all for a one-off game rather than a best of three final.
"I love it (the one-off format). I wish I was there when I was playing. It's a World Cup final over five days. They have clearly been the best two teams in the world over the last two years."
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