Like chalk and cheese: Ravi Shastri on the difference in the situation between the 2021 and 2023 WTC finals

When you don’t win, it certainly hurts. And it has to hurt. You’re not there just to make numbers. You’re going to play to win, and you want to win. But if you look back, the circumstances of that World Test Championship compared to today’s are chalk and cheese. Those were tough times. There was Covid, there was quarantine. When it came to preparation, it wasn’t easy for the players either. You’re in isolation for 14 days and then you play a week later. Both teams had plenty of time now, though. They were playing competitive cricket. I think it will be a really good match, Shastri said at the ICC Afternoon With Test Legends event.

Maybe physicality will play a role. It’s not the number of overs you’ll bowl or just being in the park for six hours. It’s different than bowling on the grid. It depends on how they practice. On paper, if you look at the man-to-man format, Australia may have a slight advantage, but the key factor will be athleticism, he added.

India qualified for the 2023 World Test finals second in the points table with 127 points and 58.8 points on the percentage system (PCT). Although they lost the series in South Africa and drew a five-match series in England, India produced a near-perfect result at home, beating New Zealand, Sri Lanka and Australia, and another triumph in the away series in Bangladesh.

Australia, by contrast, topped the standings, winning all three home series of the 2021/23 cycle, including a 4-0 rout at Ashes. In addition, the Pat Cummins-led team won 1-0 in Pakistan and drew 1-1 in Sri Lanka before losing 2-1 in India.

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