Former India head coach Ravi Shastri talked about how Australia holds a slight edge over India in the upcoming ICC World Test Championship (WTC 2023) final. India and Australia will clash in the summit match on June 7-11 at the Oval in London.
Ravi Shastri also thinks that the Oval track will remain fresher than it usually is as it has never hosted a Test match in June in the venue's 140-year history.
Jasprit Bumrah's presence, according to Shastri, a former India head coach who led the team to the first World Tennis Championship final in 2021, would have allowed India to start evenly matched, if not as favorites.
"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, may be the match fitness will come into play," Shastri said at the ICC's 'Afternoon with Test Legends' event.
Shastri feels that even if it was two months of T20 cricket, game time does make a difference. He also feels Australian team on paper holds slight advantage on a bouncy Oval track, though Indian team is better prepared.
Many of Australian cricketers including Pat Cummins are coming into the WTC 2023 final without any match practice as the side opted against playing a warm-up game as well. Only a handful of players had some cricket in IPL- David Warner or the County Championship- Steve Smith and Marnus Labuschagne.
"Match fitness might come into play. 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.
He also said that someone like Mohammad Shami might be the key for Indian team.
“Like there is Shami who might just come in and do the damage in the first half an hour because he has been playing so much of cricket. He might deny someone from settling in with his line and length," Shastri said.