India Head coach Ravi Shastri has termed the World Test Championship Final between India and New Zealand as the “big daddy of all World Cups” while emphasizing the importance of the event in the history of the game.
The inaugural WTC cycle is close to its conclusion at The Ageas Bowl in Southampton culminating the 2-year period where teams battled with each other home and away, however, the idea of such a tournament was recognized about a decade ago when Test cricket was considered dying in the advent of T20 cricket.
Now, the mega-clash and the tournament, which ran for 2 years from 2019, has provided the much-needed context to the longest format of the sport. Shastri asserts that this is the World Cup in the 5-day format, the toughest format, especially for the Test specialist on both sides.
“It’s the ‘big daddy of all World Cups’. I’ve played the 1983 World Cup, commentated on a few of them but this one is the biggest of them all. It’s the toughest format, biggest format and the job satisfaction is maximum.
“There are a lot of big players who’ve not got their hands on a World Cup, so playing in a big final is always special. To keep the team at number one for five years is a massive achievement,” Ravi Shastri told host broadcaster Star Sports.
With the kind of attack we have, we take the pitch out of the equation: Ravi Shastri
India had announced their playing eleven a day before the starting of the final. The Asian giants, who finished at the top of the WTC Final, have opted for a 5-man bowling combination that included two spinners – Ravindra Jadeja and Ravichandran Ashwin. This was a slight concern considering the pace-bowling friendly conditions on offer in Southampton.
However, the head coach says that unless there was another day washout, after the entire Day 1 being abandoned, they were going to stick with their chosen bowling attack, as it had the capability to make use of both the pace and spin assistance conditions, if any, as the match progresses.
“Not really (on any changes to playing XI). Unless you would have had another washout today and the game had been reduced to a 2-3 day game, but otherwise with the kind of attack we have, we take the pitch out of the equation.
“On a day like this it helps the fast bowlers get help, but when the sun comes out the spinners would come into play. Jadeja and Ashwin add that variety and they bowl well in tandem. They have close to 600-700 wickets and complement each other really well,” Ravi Shastri stated.
The Day 2, which was truncated due to bad light, ended at an evenly poised juncture. After losing the toss and being inserted in, India ends the day at a score of 146/3.