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Rohit Sharmas Form Not A Worry Ahead Of WTC Final, Injury Hit India Can Beat Australia



India will take on Australia in the World Test Championship final on June 7 at The Oval in London.

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Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli and Ravindra Jadeja will play a crucial role in the WTC final. (Image: Twitter)

New Delhi: The Indian cricket team has been plagued with injuries just ahead of the World Test Championship (WTC) final against Australia scheduled to take place at The Oval in London from June 7.

While Rishabh Pant and Jasprit Bumrah were ruled out much much before, KL Rahul and Shreyas Iyer became the latest entrants in that growing list with both needing to go under the knife. Left-arm pacer Jaydev Unadkat is also in doubt after injuring his shoulder in IPL 2023.

However, former India cricketer and head coach Anshuman Gaekwad feels this team has all the potential to beat Australia on the English soil as they have done it before on overseas conditions.

“I think it’s very sad and unfortunate for Indian cricket (on Rahul and Bumrah out with injury). But dont forget when the Indian team went to Australia and won the series (referring to India’s 2-1 series win in 2020-21) which were the senior players there with them?.

“Was Jasprit Bumrah there? Was Virat Kohli there? Was Mohammed Shami there?,” questioned Gaekwad in an exclusive interaction with and Cricket Country on Wednesday.

Kohli was granted a paternity leave after the first Test with Ajinkya Rahane leading the side in the final three Tests. Shami fractured his arm in the first Test and was ruled out of the last three games while Bumrah didn’t play the final Test in Brisbane due to an abdominal strain.

However, the likes of Mohammed Siraj, T Natarajan, Rishabh Pant, Hanuma Vihari played their heart out to script a famous win. “Even then the youngsters did the job, they delivered. Of course its unfortunate (players missing due to injury) but that does not mean that India is not going to do well or they are going to struggle because there guys are not there,” added the 70-year-old.

Indian Spinners To Rule

Gaekwad, who played 40 Tests and 15 ODIs for India from 1975 to 1987, also stressed on the fact that if the Indian spinners get turn on The Oval wicket, Australia will be on backfoot. “Since the final is being played on June, the weather is going to be warme and the wicket will be drier.

“I think it will suit the Indian batters and the bowlers as well. You must be surprised that you might see the ball turning as well and assisting Indian spinners. And if that happens, India are favourites,” said Gaekwad, who had scored 2254 international runs across formats.

Asked which spinner would he play in the playing XI alongside Ravindra Jadeja, Gaekwad was quick to reply. “I would play Ravichandran Ashwin with Ravindra Jadeja. Because we have seen in the past English batters have always struggled against Jadeja since he a left-arm spinner.

“And also let’s not forget Australia are also going to England and playing at neutral venue, so they must be also wary of Indian bowlers. I don’t think so (on wherther the english conditions will favour australia),” added the Indian Cricketers’ Association (ICA) president.

For the record, in the recent Australia’s tour of India, both Jadeja and Ashwin took 22 and 25 wickets respectively. India won the four-match series 2-1 with the fourth match ending in a draw.

Rohit Sharma’s Form Not A Concern

Amidst India’s injury concerns, skipper Rohit Sharma’s form in the ongoing Indian Premier League (IPL) 2023 has been a major talking point. In 11 games for Mumbai Indians, Rohit has scored just 191 runs with just one fifty to his name.

Gaekwad felt that has nothing to do with the WTC final. “To be very frank, I don’t see a problem here. You are talking about two different formats of the game – T20 and a five-day Test match.

“Its a different approach all-together, your mental preparation will be different totally,” concluded the former selector.

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