Former India head coach Ravi Shastri reckons Team India would have been on equal footing with Australia for the World Test Championship final if Jasprit Bumrah was part of the team. The pacer has been out of action for several months, due to an injury. He was unavailable for the World Test Championship final, which is all set to begin on June 7 at The Oval in London.
The Indian pace attack boasts of Mohammed Shami, Mohammed Siraj, Umesh Yadav, Jaydev Unadkat and Shardul Thakur for the final. They will be missing the services of Jasprit Bumrah. Meanwhile, Australia has a star-studded line-up featuring Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc. Josh Hazlewood has been ruled out of the final, with Michael Neser joining in as his replacement.
“I would say if you look at pace attack, if 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 that will come into play,” said Ravi Shastri at the ICC’s ‘Afternoon with Test Legends’ event.
Most of the players will be heading into the final on the back of two months-long T20 cricket, in the Indian Premier League. Ravi Shastri expressed that game time makes a difference. He said, “Match fitness might come into play. You need some cricket behind you and staying in the park for six hours for five days is different from bowling in nets for two hours every day.”
“Shami might be key as he has been playing a lot of cricket,” he added.
It’s chalk and cheese: Ravi Shastri on the two WTC cycles
Former cricketer Ravi Shastri further expressed that the 2021-23 World Test Championship cycle has been different from the previous one. The last cycle was hit by the Covid-19 pandemic. Shastri was part of the Indian dressing room when they lost the rain-soaked final in Southampton in 2021. He said,
“When you don’t win, it hurts as you are not there to fill in numbers. But if I look in hindsight, compared to that World Test Championship cycle, it’s chalk and cheese.
“There was COVID-19, quarantines. It was hard on players, 14 days in isolation and then seven days of training. Here both teams have had time to prepare and this one will be a good contest,” he added.