Former India batter Aakash Chopra has expressed concerns about the Indian team’s ability to conquer English conditions ahead of the highly anticipated World Test Championship Final against Australia. As the teams prepare to face off at the Kennington Oval on June 7, Chopra pointed out the lack of Test cricket experience for the Indian side in recent times. India secured the second spot in the WTC points table with 127 points from 18 matches, while Australia finished as table-toppers with 152 points in 19 games.
“Test cricket has not been played in these conditions for a long time. In fact, it’s been a long time since we played Test cricket. For the last two months, you have played T20 cricket continuously. When you play T20 cricket, you play with a different template. It’s been two-and-a-half months since you played together, same story for Australia. It’s not a great thing,” Aakash Chopra expressed to ICC.
Chopra emphasized the importance of adapting quickly to the challenges posed by a quality Australian bowling attack in English conditions. With Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins, and Josh Hazlewood leading the pace battery for Australia, Chopra warned that if India takes too long to find their footing, the competition might slip away from its grasp.
As quoted in India Today, Aakash Chopra added, “When you go to overseas conditions, many times it happens that in the first match, it takes a little time to get your bearings right. And Test cricket, facing Australia in English conditions if it is overcast, a little greenish pitch then it is possible that till the time if you find your bearings, the competition will slip out of your hand.”
The former batter also raised concerns about some of India’s main batsmen, including Virat Kohli and Cheteshwar Pujara, who has struggled to perform consistently in English conditions in recent times. While Kohli boasts an impressive career average of 55.32 across 108 Test matches, his average drops to 27.66 in England. Chopra noted that apart from Rohit Sharma and Cheteshwar Pujara, there are question marks surrounding the form of other Indian batsmen.
However, he acknowledged that both Kohli and Shubman Gill come into the WTC Final in good form, having scored runs for their clubs in the IPL 2023. In terms of India’s chances, Chopra highlighted the importance of their bowling unit in potentially turning the game around, even if they encounter a poor start in the one-off Test match.
“Bowling can probably bring India back into the game. You said there is one Test match, so there are fewer chances of making a comeback but Test match cricket is such that if you don’t play well in the first two days and you improve your game later, a comeback can happen,” said Aakash Chopra.
With India aiming to clinch their first ICC trophy in nearly a decade, all eyes will be on the team as they face Australia in the World Test Championship Final in London.