Most of the members of the Australian squad for the WTC final have not played much competitive cricket since the four-match Test series in India that ended in early March. Neither team has played any Test cricket since that series. Which brings us to the question: In terms of preparation, who is better prepared, India and Australia, for the final starting at the Oval on Wednesday?
“Yeah, they (breaks) are rare to get,” Cummins said in his reply on the importance of breaks at a time when players’ workload has been so high in all three formats, including the franchise-based tournaments.
“So, yes, we try and take breaks whenever possible. I have always said that we have to play six Test matches in the next two months, I would prefer to do a little less than to do more. It is from a bowler’s point of view. It’s from the scene. I always feel like it doesn’t take much time to prepare. And then I want to make sure I’m physically fresh for the matches.”
“We had some really good training at Beckenham last week,” he said. “Obviously coming back home, we did a lot of training as well. So everyone has come in, we’ve worked really hard, everyone is fresh, rejuvenated and quite keen.”
Minutes earlier, at the same event, Ponting had said he was not sure which team was better prepared, although he gave Australia a “slight” edge because the Oval had conditions similar to Australia, where the bounce is good, the square boundaries long. and very hot weather is forecast.
“As far as preparation is concerned, some of the Australians have done nothing – they have not been playing cricket at all,” Ponting said. “At least all the Indian players are playing very competitive cricket in the IPL. So coming fresh without any cricket, is it better? Or is it maybe a little tired, a little tired coming after the IPL, but having played “Is there a lot of cricket going forward? So there are a number of factors that could play out during this week.”
Rohit Sharma: ‘Talk to yourself and be mentally prepared’
“If you’re going to play, it’s something you have to prepare for mentally. You have to be adaptable, adjust to whatever little changes you need to make in your technique,” he said. “But more than that, I think it’s just talking to yourself and being mentally prepared. A lot of other guys in the team haven’t done that because we’ve got a lot of new faces in the team as well.
“For me, it’s really just talking to yourself, getting mentally prepared, because it’s something that many of us have been doing for many years.”
If there’s one thing he’s learned as a batsman in England, it’s that “you’re never in”.
“England generally has quite challenging conditions for batsmen, but as long as you’re prepared to perform well, you know, you can have some success as a batsman,” he said. “One thing I realized is that batting (in 2021) you will never really be able to do because the weather keeps changing a lot. So you have to concentrate for a long time and that’s the challenge of this format. You know, you will Get that message or you can get that intuition of when it’s your time to take on the bowler and that’s when you have to be ready for it and more importantly, you have to be there.”
And if you maintain that focus, it can be easy to score runs at the Oval, Rohit said. “It’s probably one of the best batting wickets as we know it,” he said. “You get value for your shots, the square boundaries are quite sharp. So it’s the best way to set yourself up for success.” It’s about giving opportunity, that is, focusing on it over the long term.”
Nagaraj Gollapudi is news editor at ESPNcricinfo