India last won an ICC title under M.S. Dhoni in 2013, and since then the team has suffered setbacks in high-pressure elimination games, including the 2017 Champions Trophy final against Pakistan, the 2019 ODI World Cup semifinal against New Zealand and the recent T20 World Cup semifinal against England last year.
In the first WTC final two years ago, India finished second to New Zealand.
In terms of financial resources and talent, India has long been a strong force in the sport, but big titles have eluded them.
Can they make a difference against Australia at the Oval in the June 7 final? It’s certainly not a question of skill. It’s a matter of ability and attitude. After all, cricket here is life, it’s the DNA of the sport, and it has no other competition, Hayden, one of the important members of Australia’s all-conquering 2000s team, told PTI.
Cricket’s popularity in India is unparalleled, and so it creates more pressure on the players, Hayden said.
In Australia, I could walk down the street and I was almost unrecognizable, especially with that awful beard and hat (laughs). But apart from cricket there are some great competitive sports here. Rugby, soccer, our water sports, surfing, outdoor sports, and here in India everything is very confined and there’s a lot of pressure.
It’s the same with Pakistani cricket. There is one sport, and that’s cricket, so it’s a mentality. Careful to look at the scoreboard and look for titles, but just play and be part of the process. If you look at the franchise teams, Gujarat Titans have done very well this year and CSK have done very well. The Mumbai Indians also believe in a certain process.
So, that’s my advice to Indian cricket – forget the results, but immerse yourself in the process, said one of the most disruptive openers of his generation.
Australia would have a huge advantage at Lord’s, but the Oval will be 50-50
Hayden believes neither side has an advantage before the final, but players from both IPL teams will be well prepared. Most of the Indian team members have played in the IPL, while only three from Australia have played in the tournament, which lasted two months.
The Test championship gives context to the relevance of Test cricket. And you have two of the greatest nations.in cricket, between the teams of India and Avs.tralii. Being in the Oval is a good opportunity for it to be a place that does not necessarily favor one particular side or the other.
Traditionally, it is the softest and flattest surface in England. It doesn’t favor spinners, it doesn’t favor seamstresses, so it’s a pretty neutral place. It’s nice to see them playing at this place, especially if it was at Lord’s, Australia would have a huge advantage, he said.
Players who have played in the IPL have an advantage
For players like Cameron Green, the first season of the IPL was good preparation for a high-stakes WTC final, Hayden said.
Don’t pay too much attention to the preparation of both nations. I don’t feel there are any big disadvantages in playing IPL cricket compared to playing county cricket.
At the IPL level, the level of high performance is so high that it is out of the question. Take Cameron Green for example. He had a terrific season for Mumbai Indians.
It doesn’t matter if he’s playing here, or playing in county cricket, or anywhere else. He is at the highest level of the sport, and if anything, I think guys who have played at a higher level (IPL) might have a slight edge.
The combination of playing high-performance cricket in the IPL and training on special grounds is a great preparation, Hayden said when asked about both teams not playing a warm-up game before the WTC title match.
Rishabh Pant is one of Indian cricket’s big losses
The absence of the dashing Rishabh Pant, who is recovering from injuries suffered in a car crash in December, leaves a big void in the Indian Test eleven, said Hayden, who supports Ishaan Kishan to wear the wicketkeeping gloves in place of K S Bharat.
One of the big losses of Indian cricket right now is Rishabh Pant. If I were India’s selector, I would certainly choose the more dynamic wicket taker Ishan Kishan, he would also add some swing to the batting line and to the fielding block as well.
Spinners can play their part on the Oval as the game progresses, which is why Hayden said India should engage both Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja.
What works for India are the two spinners. It doesn’t work for Australia, unless you count the outrageous spinners we saw in India during the Bord Trophyeer-Gavaskar.
I know that the Australian combination will always want to have three quiks. Obviously, Nathan Lyon is our spinner, and Cameron Green can play as an all-rounder. I mean, that’s how important Cameron Green is. It’s a powerful and important role that he plays as an all-rounder. So it’s great that he’s in shape, he said.
You’ll see a lot of Shubman Gill over the next 15 years
Hayden concluded by praising the in-form Shubman Gill.
You will see a lot of Shubman Gill over the next 15 years. The basics of good Test cricket are pretty simple. Both Shubman, and C.L. Rahul before him, run fantastic games. So he will be a superstar in any format of cricket for a long time to come.
One of the biggest advantages Shubman has, and he showed it during his tour of Australia, is that he plays very well off the back foot.
So the play at the wicket is excellent. And that will help him against even the best teams in the world, Hayden added.