WTC 2021 Final: WATCH – Ishant, Shami reflect on India’s WTC journey; say playing final shows 2 years of hardwork

India will take on New Zealand in the WTC final in Southampton from June 18-22.

Ishant Sharma and Mohammad Shami | GettyThe inaugural ICC World Test Championship (WTC) final, scheduled to be played between India and New Zealand in Southampton from June 18-22, is creating a lot of buzz.

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For Team India pacers Ishant Sharma and Mohammad Shami, the marquee game will be a culmination of two years of hardwork, studded with emotional moments and plenty of learnings.

“It’s been a practical as well as emotional journey, and this is an ICC tournament which is as big as 50 over WC final,” Ishant told, reflecting on the start of the WTC campaign in West Indies back in 2019.

According to the lanky pacer, it is a great effort from the team, considering the rule changes due to COVID-19 pandemic.

Last year, the raging outbreak forced the ICC to adopt a percentage-based points model in order to keep the tournament on track.

“Virat (Kohli) has said this is not our sweat and hardwork of just one month but over a period of two years. We had to work harder because of COVID, then rule change happened and we were under pressure and then we won a tough series in Australia. We came back against England as we had to win 3-1,” Ishant remarked.

Team India have qualified for the WTC final on the back of some remarkable performances in home and away conditions.

As per Shami, the historic Test series win in Australia despite being hit by several injuries and regular skipper Virat Kohli’s absence (paternity leave) was the best feeling.

“It’s about giving 110 per cent as this is last ditch effort of our two years of hardwork. It’s important that we give it our all and double our effort for sometime.

“The best feeling for me is that without us seniors, our youngsters achieved in Australia, new boys put their hands up to be counted emerging as new stars. Its also a learning process and it helps you boost your confidence and the benchmark that has been set,” Shami said.

Ishant too echoed Shami’s sentiments.

“I think the belief that we can come back from anywhere was huge. It helped Indian cricket enter the next phase. Even though I wasn’t a part, I felt that series gave a different kind of self belief,” he added.

Ishant acknowledged that acclimatising to English weather is a challenge and the focus will be on pitching the ball up to generate more swing.

“In India, reverse swing comes into play but in UK, you have to alter the length and pitch it up so that the ball swings more. Altering the length is not easy and it takes effort because it’s cold over here and adjusting to the weather takes time,” he said.

No wonder, Shami feels experience makes a whole lot of difference.

“Experience counts a lot irrespective of result. Especially in Test matches where you need to deal with various situation, cloud cover, pitches, wind direction, everything makes a difference, so when someone who has played earlier gets to play again, it does help,” said Shami.



By Salman Anjum - 12 Jun, 2021

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