Just like the palanquins of Gyanoba-Mauli-Tukobaraya from Dehu, Alandi took different routes to Pandharpur, the palanquins of our Kohli and Sharma who were released from the IPL took different routes to England. The last palanquin of Shami, Gill, Rahane, Bharat and Jadeja arrived in England a day late as the IPL final was delayed and its World Test Championship squad was complete. The Indian team and the Australian team are also preparing for this important match without a practice match. Although the Indian team gives strong reasons for avoiding warm-up matches, there is no substitute for match practice in cricket. In particular, when all the players, except Pujara, are moving from a long-running, hot and humid arena like the IPL to playing Tests directly in a cold country, the biggest change they have to undergo is in their mindset. In T20 cricket, the batting that goes on with the boundaries dictated by necessity; But in Test cricket, the length of time a batsman stays at the crease is also of utmost importance. In the last two months, the pace of the game, which was T20-paced, has to be wrapped up and a match played over two days would have been better. (WTC Final)
IPL’s form in Tests unworkable:
If we consider the final eleven players from our team, Rohit Sharma-Shubman Gill will be the openers. After that will come Pujara, Kohli and Rahane. With these five batsmen, India’s opening and middle order looks stronger than Australia’s on paper. Shubman Gill was in dream form in IPL; But the dimensions of the IPL cannot be measured in England playing a Test against Australia. Gill’s knock of 91 in the 2021 Brisbane Test will be more motivating than his IPL performance to prepare for the match. According to the same judgement, even if Rohit Sharma fails in IPL, it does not mean that he will perform like that in Tests. The Sharma-Gil duo has a huge responsibility to make a great start. Expectations are high since Pujara, who comes in after the opener, has been playing in this environment for the last two months; But the pressure of these expectations will definitely be on him. Virat Kohli has erased the 2014 failure by scoring over 500 runs in the 2018 series. He has scored 1,033 runs at an average of 33.32 in 31 innings of 16 Tests played in England. Kohli and Rahane’s experience of switching off from the T20 format and playing Tests will help us. Either a Pujara-Kohli or Kohli-Rahane partnership will either save the innings or shape the innings if they get a good opening. Ponting has expressed the opinion that reserve Suryakumar Yadav should be given a chance; But it looks like a war of words before the Australian match. Australians will never forget the victory that Ajinkya Rahane led the team to in Australia. That Melbourne century of his is counted among the best overseas centuries by Indians. So Rahane has no choice at present considering his batting consistency this year. After these five, Jadeja will be number six. (WTC Final)
Kishan or Bharat? :
Ishaan Kishan or Bharat? This is a hot topic; But his choice will depend on his bowling choice. While Ishan Kishan has played well in the IPL, Hardik Pandya has not given a single chance to Bharat. So Bharat is currently not practicing for any match. Even so, Bharat is a wicketkeeper with Test quality and Test experience, while Kishan might be under pressure if he makes his debut in such a big game. Secondly, in England wicket keeping is also an art. When Rishabh Pant made his debut in the 2018 Nottingham Test, even though he took 5 catches in the first innings, he excelled at swinging the ball behind the stumps. (WTC Final)
The real test in bowling selection:
For India, Shami and Siraj will be there for sure. Umesh Yadav, Shardul Thakur, Ashwin, Akshar and Unadkat are the two we have to choose from. Unadkat and Umesh Yadav have recently recovered from injury and it is difficult for them to get chances in this environment. So Shardul Thakur’s all-round qualities as well as his range of pace will keep him in the team and Ashwin’s batting ability, 5 Test centuries will give Ashwin a tilt between Ashwin and Akshar. If this happens we will play 3+2 like the last Test Championship final and Bharat will be the wicket keeper. However, if Umesh Yadav or Unadkat are taken instead of Ashwin due to the cloudy weather, Ishan Kishan may get a chance to strengthen the batting with the loss of versatile Ashwin. In the last championship final, New Zealand fielded five fast bowlers; But there is a difference between the atmosphere and the pitch at Southampton and The Oval. Even though we focus on Hazlewood, Starc, Lyon here, we were overwhelmed by New Zealand’s Kylie Jamieson’s bowling which took advantage of his height. Something similar could happen to Cameron Greene.
New Pitch, New Ball:
What Indian batsmen mainly have to contend with is the English weather, the oval’s fresh pitch and the red ball. The forecast for the week calls for sun and cloud cover for the first two days of the Test and sunshine for the next three days. Similarly, Jodi is going to have a breeze on the first two days. Most of the 104 Test matches played at the Oval since 1880 have been played in August–September, with only 9 being played in July, making it the first match in the Oval’s history to be played in June. So the Oval’s statistics so far are not particularly useful for this match. By August–September, pitches in England are old with county matches played; But for this final, we will have a new pitch, with fresh grass. According to the ICC rules, when the host country ball is used in the match, neither Australia’s Kookaburra nor India’s SG, but England’s Duke ball will be used in this match. The Duke ball is handmade, has a raised seam, its dark red color with lacquer coating makes it look darker, longer swing. While the oval’s traditional pitch is less grass-friendly and supports the spinners and is conducive to batting, it will be that way after two days; But if the weather forecast holds until Wednesday, the team that wins the toss will bowl first and take advantage of the new ball’s nutrients. Lack of rest for Team India Most of the Indian players are coming here to play because of the fatigue of IPL. Neither their team owners nor the BCCI managed their work-load. Any athlete’s muscles need rest to recover. Even though a T20 game is over in three-and-a-half hours, it is exhausting. Similarly, as the math of the match changes with each over, there is constant mental pressure. The bats used in this are special. They are heavy. Using it continuously for two months definitely has an effect on the muscles. Our team has reached the city of Cricket Pandhari in stages. We will know in the first session on Wednesday whether the ICC trophy opens for us after ten years.
– Nimish Patgaonkar
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