In an assessment of the upcoming World Test Championship final between Australia and India, former Australian captain Ian Chappell expressed his belief that Australia's potent pace attack holds the advantage, particularly in English conditions. Chappell also highlighted the potential impact of injured Indian players, Jasprit Bumrah and Rishabh Pant, who he feels could be detrimental to India's chances in the final.
The absence of key players, including Shreyas Iyer and K L Rahul, due to injuries further adds to India's challenges, according to Chappell. He also noted that the unavailability of all-rounder Hardik Pandya, who hasn't played red-ball cricket since 2018, hampers India's prospects as he could have provided a valuable addition to the team.
Despite the injury concerns, Chappell acknowledged that both teams face uncertainties due to the lack of Test cricket in recent months and the players' involvement in the Indian Premier League (IPL) leading up to the final. Citing former England batter Ravi Bopara's experience, where he transitioned successfully from the IPL to a Test series, Chappell emphasized the positive impact of T20 cricket in getting players in a positive frame of mind.
Assessing the strengths of the two teams, Chappell believes that Australia's pace trio of Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc, and Josh Hazlewood gives them a slight edge, particularly in English conditions. However, he acknowledged India's formidable pace attack consisting of Mohammed Shami, Mohammed Siraj, and Umesh Yadav, which closely follows Australia's trio in terms of wicket-taking capability. In the spin department, Chappell acknowledged India's upper hand with their experienced spinners.
Chappell emphasized that mental strength and resilience will be crucial in this one-off Test, provided there are no significant disruptions due to weather. He highlighted the importance of maintaining a good line and length under attack, and the team that displays the most resilience is likely to come out on top.
From a batting perspective, Chappell underlined the significance of key players for both teams. Australia heavily relies on the big-scoring abilities of Steve Smith, Marnus Labuschagne, and Usman Khawaja, while also acknowledging the enigmatic David Warner's potential impact. On the Indian side, the trio of Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, and Cheteshwar Pujara poses a challenge for the Australian attack, while Shubman Gill's fearless and stroke-making mentality should not be underestimated.
Considering the playing conditions, Chappell believes Australia holds a slight advantage due to their strong pace attack being well-suited to English conditions. However, he also noted the value of IPL preparation for batters, as demonstrated by Ravi Bopara's successful transition.
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