Former Australia cricketer Ian Chappell expressed concern over the absence of injured players Jasprit Bumrah and Rishabh Pant, stating that their unavailability would significantly impact India’s chances in the World Test Championship (WTC) final.
Bumrah recently underwent surgery for his long-standing back issue. The fast bowler last played for India in September 2022. On the other hand, wicketkeeper-batter Pant is undergoing rehabilitation after being involved in a near fatal car accident in December last year. Both were ruled out of the IPL 2023 as well.
Chappell also highlighted the absence of all-rounder Hardik Pandya, who has not played red-ball cricket since 2018. India’s lineup suffered another blow as Shreyas Iyer and KL Rahul were also ruled out of the final against Australia from June 7-11 at the Oval, England.
“The injuries to Jasprit Bumrah and Rishabh Pant badly affect India, as they would be outright favourites with these two playing. The somewhat surprising unavailability of allrounder Hardik Pandya also harms India, as he could have provided them with the final piece of the jigsaw puzzle,” Chappell wrote in a column for ESPNcricinfo.
Chappell further said that Australia’s formidable pace attack will give them an advantage over India in the English conditions. He regarded Australia’s pace trio of Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc, and Josh Hazlewood as slightly superior to India’s pace attack, but acknowledged that India’s Mohammed Shami, Mohammed Siraj, and Umesh Yadav were also potent wicket-takers. Chappell also recognised India’s advantage in the spin department.
“If Australia’s classy pace trio of Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood are available, that makes them slight favourites. They are good bowlers any time, but England in early June should be right up their alley. Nevertheless, an Indian pace attack containing Mohammed Shami, Mohammed Siraj and Umesh Yadav is also strong and only just behind the Australian trio in wicket-taking capability,” Chappel said.
The Australian great also emphasised the importance of batter’s performances against the talented opposing pace attacks. He noted that Australia rely heavily on the batting prowess of Steve Smith, Marnus Labuschagne, and Usman Khawaja, while also highlighting the impact of David Warner.
For India, Chappell highlighted the batting trio of Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, and Cheteshwar Pujara, who have excelled in Test cricket. He also emphasised the need for the Australian bowlers to pay attention to the fearless and stroke-making Shubman Gill.
“Australia rely heavily on Steve Smith, Marnus Labuschagne and Usman Khawaja’s big scoring ability but the enigmatic David Warner shouldn’t be overlooked,” Chappell said.