The ICC World Test Championship (WTC) 2021-23 cycle came to an end on Sunday (June 11), with Australia clinching the title by defeating India in the final at The Oval.
The Rohit Sharma-led side was outplayed by Australia in all facets of the game. After winning the toss, Indian bowlers failed to make the most of the overcast conditions as Australia rode on centuries from Travis Head (163) and Steve Smith (121) to rack up 469 in their first innings.
In response, India’s first innings folded for 296, conceding a substantial lead of 173 runs. Australia declared their second essay at 270/8 to set a huge target of 444 in the final innings.
Chasing the target, the Indian batting line-up once again crumbled under pressure, losing seven wickets for 70 runs in the morning session on Day 5 to be bowled out for 234.
After the completion of the WTC 2021-23 cycle, the discussion regarding transition in the Indian Test team has begun.
Former India head coach Ravi Shastri also believes that the team management and selectors will need to take some tough calls going into the next edition, asking them to draw inspiration from Australia on how to build a side with a blend of young and experienced players.
India will begin their WTC 2023-2025 cycle with a two-match Test series against West Indies, starting July 12 in Dominica.
"That's what the think-tank and the selectors will have to see...sit and draw a plan, have the vision to see how to replenish your squad. Australians are very good at doing that over the years. They see where they want to be in three years' time. They don't wait for five players to go away suddenly from the side," Shastri told Star Sports.
In recent years, Australia have invested in youngsters such as Marnus Labuschagne, Travis Head, Cameron Green and they are being benefitted by playing alongside seasoned campaigners like Steve Smith and David Warner.
"They're (Australia) constantly getting in youth. So there's a combination of youth and experience all the time. The youngsters learn quickly from the senior players to ensure the team is healthy and strong right through. That (sort of) planning has to be done. They are hard calls, people might not like it, but it's the team's interest that is paramount and that's how you should look at it," Shastri said.
After the WTC final loss, India skipper Rohit Sharma emphasized on the need for a longer preparation period.
Reacting to it, Shastri said the players would have to miss some IPL games. Notably, India’s WTC-bound players travelled to India in batches as the IPL 2023 season came to an end on May 29.
"Let's be realistic here. You're not going to get those 20 days. And if that's the case then you've got to miss IPL," Shastri said.
"So the choice is yours and it's up to the establishment as well. I'm sure the BCCI will review this in the future, if a World Test Championship (final) is going to come after an IPL every time in the month of June, then for that season, if your team qualifies for the final, there should be certain clauses put to franchises," he added.