'Shami could do damage in first half an hour...': Shastri, Akram blast Ponting's 'IND will be tired after IPL' remark

Jun 05, 2023 07:54 PM IST

Shastri and Akram blasted Ponting's statement with the former India coach making a blistering "Mohammed Shami" remark.

Former Australia captain Ricky Ponting on Sunday reiterated his old IPL remark as he once again picked his country as the favourites for the impending World Test Championship final against India at The Oval. Ponting told it during a chat on ICC Review earlier as well and repeated the same during the conversation with Star Sports saying that Australia start favourites in the contest as their Indian counterparts head to the summit clash "jaded and tired" after the arduous IPL 2023 season. But legendary cricketers Ravi Shastri and Wasim Akram, who were also part of the panel, blasted the statement with the former India coach making a blistering "Mohammed Shami" remark.

Ravi Shastri with Ricky Ponting and Wasim Akram
Ravi Shastri with Ricky Ponting and Wasim Akram

When asked directly on who he thinks will win the contest, Ponting sided with Australia, albeit "slightly". Although he admitted that there is little to differentiate between the two sides after they finished top of the table at the end of the 2021/23 cycle to make the final, he picked Australia based on match preparation. He explained that while Australian players have hardly played the sport leading to the WTC final, implying a "fresh" mind, Indian players have been left exhausted after the IPL season.

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“The interesting thing as far as preparation is concerned is that some of the Australians have done nothing. They haven't been playing any cricket at all. At least, all the Indian guys have been playing very competitive cricket in the IPL. So coming in fresh without any cricket, is that better or is it coming in maybe slightly jaded and slightly tired on the back of an IPL but having played a lot of cricket leading in? So there's lots of factors that could show up through the course of this week," he said.

The Pakistan fast-bowling legend however completely disagreed with Ponting and said that he would have preferred playing a series or a tournament like IPL, irrespective of the format, heading into a big final rather than having no match practice at all.

"I as a player would always want a bit of cricket behind me. It doesn't matter the format as long as I am playing cricket. I would prefer at least one series or a tournament like IPL as match practice and then come in to play," Akram explained, although he did pick Aussies as the favourites.

Shastri admitted that Australia start favourites on paper but added that match fitness could be a deciding factor. He explained saying that a player like Mohammed Shami, who picked up the Purple Cap in IPL 2023, could end up doing the damage with the new ball as opposed to a player who has no match practice behind him, leaving leaving him searching for the right ares to bowl.

“I think that match fitness might come into play. It's like Waz mentioned, Ricky mentioned, you need some cricket behind you. It's not just the number of overs you bowl or how long you were, but just staying on the park for six hours,” Shastri said.

“It's totally different from just bowling in the nets for two hours, two hours, four or five days, six days. So it depends how they've practised, how they've prepared.

“Australia. On paper, if you look man to man, they have the slight edge, but that match fitness might be the key. Where Shami might just come in and do the damage in the first half an hour because he's been playing so much, as opposed to someone settling in to a line length and the right areas to bowl.”

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