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Australia or India: Five cricket legends predict WTC Final 2023 winner

By Rohit - June 6, 2023 - Last updated on Jun 06, 2023 11:26 PM
Australia or India: Five cricket legends predict WTC Final 2023 winner

Ahead of the ICC World Test Championship Final between India and Australia at The Oval, several cricket legends, including Ricky Ponting, Ravi Shastri, Wasim Akram, Ian Bell, and Ross Taylor, shared their predictions in a pre-match discussion in London. Here's what these five icons had to say before the start of play on Wednesday.

Ricky Ponting Predicts Australia to Win ICC World Test Championship Final

Ponting believes that a combination of India's selection dilemmas and the English conditions leave Rohit Sharma's side slightly on the back foot compared to Australia.

"Australia are just favourites," Ponting said. "India have got a couple of little uncertain areas in their team I think in terms of how selection and injuries are concerned. With KL Rahul not being there, (Jasprit) Bumrah obviously not being there, Umesh Yadav's had a bit of an injury cloud over his head, which keeper do they want to take – do they go with Ishan Kishan of KS Bharat?

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"I think Australia are going to be a lot more settled and then when you think about conditions here as well, these early June conditions probably more like Australian conditions than they are Indian conditions.

"But saying that we all know how well India played in Australia last time they were there, so I just think on the back of their work that they've done, Australia I think start narrow favourites."

Ravi Shastri Predicts Close Contest in ICC World Test Championship Final

Shastri believes that the early momentum in the match will be key, and that the teams that can land the first punch will be in a good position to win.

"In a one-off game it's not easy," Shastri said. "When I see current form, both of these teams have not played the longer duration of the game for quite some time. India have played a lot of T20 cricket, Australia on the other hand – barring (Steve) Smith and (Marnus) Labuschagne who played a bit of country cricket – haven't played for the longer periods of time.

"I think the first punch will count on day one.

"I think Pat Cummins will be charged up for Australia, and I think Mohammed Shami for India (will be key)."

Wasim Akram Predicts Australia to Win ICC World Test Championship Final

Akram believes that the June conditions will play into the hands of Australia's attack, giving them a narrow advantage.

"Both teams have shown in the last two years they are the best in the world, hence they are in the final," Wasim said.

"This pitch usually favours teams from the sub-continent, but whenever we toured here... we played our last Test match here at the end of August or the first week of September.

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"But this is happening first week of June, so the square is different, fresh square and the ball is different all together as a Dukes.

"I think Australia will have a slight advantage because they have played here in English conditions recently, they have won the Ashes here and they know what it takes to win here.

"India have not played here for a while, so they will have to adapt quickly to the conditions.

"But I think it will be a close match and it could go either way."

Ian Bell: Whoever bats better will win the Ashes

Former England batsman Ian Bell, who was Player of the Series in the home Ashes win in 2013, believes that the team that bats better will be the team that wins the series.

"With two strong bowling attacks set to be on show, it will come down to who can get runs on the board and put pressure on the opposition in the second half of the match," Bell said.

The forecast for the series is good, with a lot of sun expected for the week. This should mean that the wickets will be good for batting, at least in the early stages of the games. However, there is always the possibility of spin coming into play later in the games, so both teams will need to be prepared for all conditions.

Bell believes that the batting units will be the key to victory in the series. "We know there's two world-class bowling attacks going at each other," he said. "It'll be how many runs you can score. That's the thing in England - if you can go big you can put a lot of pressure on people at the back end. So I think the batting units are the ones to keep an eye on."

Ross Taylor Predicts Australia to Win World Test Championship Final

Taylor, who hit the winning runs for New Zealand in the 2021 final, believes that Australia have a slight advantage due to their experience of playing in English conditions.

"Australia play here a lot in the Ashes series," Taylor said. "They know what it takes to win in England and I think that will be a big factor in the final."

Taylor also pointed to the fact that India are without their star bowler Jasprit Bumrah, who is injured.

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"Losing Bumrah is a massive loss for India," Taylor said. "He's one of the best bowlers in the world and his absence will be felt."

However, Taylor did not rule out India's chances of winning the final.

"India are a very good side and they have a lot of match-winners," Taylor said. "If they can get their batting right, they could still win the final."

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