Ahead of the 2023 ICC High-octane World Testing (WTC) final, Australian star striker Steve Smith said he was not thinking too much about the “Ultimate Test” and hoped the clash at the top would be “a good game of cricket”. The WTC Finals will be held at The Oval from June 7th to 11th. Australia, led by Pat Cummins, will take on India, led by Rohit Sharma, for the coveted test mace.
Smith believed Australia could beat India and have a “good cricket game” in the WTC final. “We believe we can succeed and beat India. We have played cricket well for many years. Obviously we have been playing good cricket in the last few years. They also played really good cricket. The top two teams playing in the final are great. I hope it will be a good game of cricket. I don’t think too much about the opponent. This is a big week for both India and Australia,” Smith said at a pre-match press conference.
Spinners Ravindra Jadeja and Ravichandran Ashwin are looming as key players, especially after the duo dominated as India retained the Border Gavascar trophy with a 2-1 series win over Australia earlier this year. The twins were split when Jadea was favored over Ashwin in all five Tests, including a fourth match at The Oval when India last toured England in 2021–22.
While the pair have made the most of spinner-friendly pitches in this series, Ashwin has also shown he can work in any conditions to collect the third most wickets in the current WTC cycle with 61 scalps in 13 Tests.
Experienced seamstresses Mohammed Shami and Mohammed Siraj will almost certainly share the new ball for Rohit Sharma’s team, while Umesh Yadav and Jaidev Unadkat also compete alongside recalled all-rounder Shardul Thakur.
“India has a good mix of seam and swing bowlers and their spinners. They have a good attack. Mohammed Shami and Mohammed Siraj are the two main guys… and there are also spinners who have found these conditions well. “India have a good attack and we have to play very well against them,” said the striker from Australia.
“Every game you play for your country is important. Every episode is important. 50 points for the World Cup is far away, but we will focus on that later, but we would like to win it. Test cricket still remains. will come,” he added.
Michael Neser, who replaced Josh Hazlewood on the Australian team, has all the skills to get straight into the squad and make a big impact if needed, according to the former Australian captain.
“(I) have so much faith, he is a great performer. I faced him against Glamorgan (District) a couple of weeks ago and he was a great bowler. He’s got great skills and he’s added some of us inwingers and has seen him hit when the wicket is a little flatter. So he has a lot of skills and he also hits well, so he’s a great package. If he gets the opportunity, he will certainly do a very good job,” Smith told The Oval.
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