Australian seamers have more experience with Dukes but don’t underestimate India, says Ross Taylor on WTC final

Mar 30, 2023 08:50 PM IST

The man who scored the winning runs in the 2021 WTC final says Australia will have one eye on the Ashes.

When Ross Taylor flicked Mohammed Shami past mid-wicket for New Zealand to be crowned inaugural world Test champions in 2021 at Southampton, he broke millions of Indian hearts. India will get another shot at the world title in the same country, come June 7. This time, against Australia who finished on the top of the points table.

New Zealand's Ross Taylor during practice.(Action Images via Reuters)
New Zealand's Ross Taylor during practice.(Action Images via Reuters)

“For India, it’s a one-off match, with nothing to lose. For Australia, its six Test matches (WTC final followed by 5 Ashes Tests),” said Taylor in a virtual interaction with select media.

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The Ashes would mark the beginning of the new World Test Championship (WTC) cycle. But Taylor is sure Australia will have one eye on the Ashes with all the history and tradition involved.

Indian team won’t have ideal preparations with most of their players going to the final from a diet of T20 cricket after a long IPL season. “It's going to be tough, I guess leading into it. We (NZ) were fortunate and it played in our hands as we played England before (last WTC final). A lot of Australians will also be playing in the IPL. Both teams will go slightly underprepared, but they will be cricket hardened,” said Taylor.

A point of difference will be the preparations of the two pace attacks. Australia’s lead pacers Pat Cummins and Mitchel Starc have decided to give the IPL a miss to stay fresh for the six big Test matches coming up.

Taylor remained non-committal if that and Jasprit Bumrah’s absence for India gives Australia the edge. “It’s very tough to replace a Bumrah. But I think there is still enough depth in the Indian line-up,” he said.

“The Oval is one of the bounciest wickets in England. The Australian side play Ashes a lot here so they will have more experience. But can’t underestimate this Indian seam attack.

“Siraj and Co are very good with the Dukes ball. Being in June, it will traditionally move around a lot more. Shami with his seam presentation and the way he has grown into that role. Umesh bowls over 140 kmph. They will relish the opportunity to bowl in English conditions.”

Further, Taylor stated the unequal distribution of Test matches — England, India, and Australia played many more — 22, 19, and 18 to Sri Lanka’s 12 (they were in the running till the end) in the WTC cycle needed to be addressed.

"In every cycle, England, India, and Australia are probably going to play most Test matches. I don't think it is about them playing less. I think it is about trying to get the other nations to up their matches. It might be something to look at, that you have to play a three-match series to try and make it a little bit more consistent," the former Kiwi batter said.

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    Rasesh Mandani loves a straight drive. He has been covering cricket, the governance and business side of sport for close to two decades. He writes and video blogs for HT.

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