Wasim Akram, a former Pakistani international, believes Australia is the current favorite to win the World Test Championship. The 57-year-old stated that the pitch at the Oval will favor the pacers, which could be problematic for Indian middle-order hitters. He also believes that the surface will provide significantly more movement, so the Indian batting unit must be extremely cautious.
Akram, also known as the “Sultan of Swing,” recalled that the Duke ball ultimately swings much more than the Kookaburra ball. Notably, Indian batters have struggled a great deal against swinging balls in the recent past, and as the WTC final is scheduled to begin on June 7, this could be problematic for the Rohit Sharma-led side.
“Test matches are played at Oval in the last week of August or the first or second week of September, when the pitch is bone dry. This time, however, the pitch is new and it is early June. There will be an increase in vibration. The Dukes swings significantly more, for a longer duration, and remains significantly harder than Kookaburra. I believe Australia will be minor favorites,” said Akram at the ICC’s ‘Afternoon with Test Legends’ event.
Shami could be crucial for India in the WTC final: Ravi Shastri
Ravi Shastri, the former head coach of India, believes that Mohammed Shami will be crucial for India in the WTC final. In addition, he compared India’s bowling unit to Australia’s and stated that match fitness could be a factor, particularly with Indian bowlers coming into the final immediately following a marathon tournament.
“If you consider tempo attack, if Bumrah was present, I would say it was comparable to Mohammed Shami, Bumrah, and Mohammed Siraj. However, the match fitness of the Australian offense, led by Starc and Cummins, will likely come into play. You need some cricket experience, but remaining in the park for six hours over five days is not the same as bowling in nets for two hours per day. Shami may be crucial because he has played so much cricket,” Shastri said in the same program.