Rohit contemplates dress rehearsal for WTC final in Ahmedabad

By Real11 - Feb 28 2023 263 Views


Rohit ponders dress rehearsal for WTC final in Ahmedabad

India will consider simulating the playing conditions at the Narendra Modi Stadium and personnel in the fourth test of the ongoing series against Australia if they seal qualification for the World Test Championship final in England. 

Rohit’s side are halfway through the summit clash for a second straight cycle and can confirm their spot with a win in the penultimate clash at Indore starting Wednesday (March 1).

India are likely to have less than 10 days of preparation in the build up to the game with Ind T20 League 2023 running until May 28 if they do make it to the Oval for the marquee final. The Ahemdabad test will then give them a realistic chance to imitate conditions as close as the ones they probably get in London. It’ll also entail a change in the team’s combination with one spinner likely to be replaced by a seam bowling all rounder, Shardul Thakur in the recent past, and possibly another with third pacer. 

“There is definitely a possibility of that," Rohit said on the eve of the Indore Test. "We have already spoken about it. We need to get the guys ready for it. The important one is Shardul Thakur, because he comes into the planning for us. We don't know how ready he is since he has just gotten married. We don't know how many overs he has bowled. But that thought process is definitely there. If we do what we do here and get the result we want, we might think of doing something different in Ahmedabad for sure."

There is a priority for such a move to simulate the conditions for a home test in anticipation of the overseas challenge. India played Sri Lanka on a green top at the Eden Gardens in 2017 as preparation for the tour of Proteas that was to follow. 

India in all likelihood will face current champions- Australia, should Rohit and co qualify. The Indian skipper expects the dynamic of the contest to be noticeably different to those in play in the ongoing Border Gavaskar series. 

"It'll be a different ball game, for both teams actually," he said. "Actually, I don't want to talk about the World Test Championship. We're not there yet. We have to win this game and then talk about it. That'll be the right thing to do.

"Just speaking of it from the outside... I don't think England is going to qualify, so both teams who are going to play the final will be neutral teams. It's going to be exciting. There's no home advantage, no conditions advantage. You know India has played a lot of cricket in England over the last couple of years. Australia have also played a lot of cricket there. Sri Lanka and South Africa are also in the mix. They probably have played a lot of cricket there as well. It's not going to be alien conditions as such [to those] who'll make the final. It'll be a good contest between the two teams, whoever those teams are."

Rohit emphasised on the fact while one eye is set at the final, the other one still on the present. He, however, reckon that qualifying for two consecutive Test Championship would mark a significant achievement in this current era of testing pitches. 

It will be a great achievement. After the last WTC championship, the way we played in certain conditions has been remarkable," the Indian captain said.

"Yes, these are our home conditions [in this series] but they are challenging conditions that we are playing. It is not easy for the batters to come out and keep scoring runs consistently. Because these are some challenging pitches we are playing on.

"So yeah, it'll be a great achievement for us. But we know that we need to cross that final hurdle and for that we need to win this next game as well, so the focus is on this Test and how we can win this game and not look too far ahead. After this, we have one more Test to be played and then there's two months of IPL. There's a lot of time to think about the final but right now it is very important for us to focus on this game and see how we can turn it around and win this game as well. Because, in the last game we were put under pressure for sure, so we can expect the same here as well, we need to be ready for that.

Meanwhile Australia’s stand-in skipper Steve Smith avowed to be flabbergasted when Rohit’s opinion was put to him in his press conference, but he was willing to wait and see how things transpire between Indore and Ahmedabad. 

"I don't know. It does [surprise me] I think. I guess we'll wait and see. Hopefully, we don't let them get the job done here and we'll see what happens from there. We'll wait and see what happens in this Test match and we'll see what happens after that," he said.

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