regular-article-logo Sunday, 01 October 2023

World Test Championship final: Ravi Shastri predicts Indians ahead on match fitness 

Most of Australians, barring a few, have had almost no competitive matches coming into WTC final at The Oval

Our Bureau Calcutta Published 06.06.23, 07:00 AM
Pat Cummins at The Oval on Monday.

Pat Cummins at The Oval on Monday. AP/PTI

Pat Cummins doesn’t mind being undercooked in terms of match fitness ahead of the World Test Championship (WTC) final against India, but Ravi Shastri thinks the opposite and so he believes the Indian players, who were busy in the IPL in the lead-up to the Test finale, will be better placed than the Aussies.

Most of the Australians, barring a few, have had almost no competitive matches coming into the WTC final at The Oval. But captain Cummins is okay with it. “Breaks are rare to come by. I have always said, with six Test matches (including five in the Ashes), it is better to be slightly underdone than overdone... I want to be physically fresh,” Cummins said at an ICC event on Sunday.


Shastri though begs to differ. “I would say if you look at pace attack, if (Jasprit) Bumrah was there, I would say it was equal with an attack of Mohammed Shami, Bumrah and Mohammed Siraj. But that Aussie attack with Starc, Cummins, maybe the match fitness will come into play,” the former India coach said.

“You need some cricket behind you and staying on the park for six hours for five days is different from bowling in nets for two hours every day,” he said. “Shami might be key as he has been playing a lot of cricket.”

Not just Shastri, Cummins’ compatriot and former captain Ricky Ponting too is unsure about the Aussies’ readiness. “Some of the Aussies have done nothing and not played anything. Coming in fresh, is that better? Or coming tired, slightly jaded but playing lot of cricket, what is better,” Ponting, who coached Delhi Capitals in the IPL, said.

But it is perhaps down to the cricketing culture of both the teams. While it is no surprise if an Australian skips the IPL to be fresh for the Ashes (which follows the WTC final), an Indian cricketer will probably find it difficult to shun the big bucks that come with participation in the cash-rich T20 league.

However, that does not translate into any statement on the preparedness of the teams for a big match. A lot of other factors will also be at play.

With inputs from PTI

Follow us on: