Eastern Eye (UK)



INDIA skipper Rohit Sharma said on Monday (13) the Test team will stay connected in order to prepare for the World Test Championsh­ip (WTC) final in June, despite two months of Twenty20 action in the Indian Premier League (IPL) before that. India won the series against Australia 2-1 after the fourth Test ended in a draw in Ahmedabad on Monday.

The world’s two topranked teams will battle again on June 7-11 at The Oval in London, in the WTC final.

Even before the players shook hands on day five, India had qualified for the WTC title clash thanks to New Zealand’s thrilling last-ball win over Sri Lanka earlier in the day.

“It will be a different ball game with neutral venue for both teams,” Sharma said of the clash in London.

“Both teams have played lot of cricket in that part of the world, and I won’t say it will be alien conditions.”

But players will now switch to a limitedove­rs format with the two teams set to play three ODIs ahead of the much-awaited IPL, which begins on March 31.

Sharma said he expected good workload management from his core group of longformat players during the gruelling IPL, which will return with the home and away format for the first time since the pandemic.

“Whatever time we find after IPL, we will try and get ready for that (final),” he said.

The fast bowlers will practise with Dukes balls which are used in England and behave differentl­y than the SG leather balls in India or the Kookaburra in Australia, he added.

The IPL will conclude with the final on May 28, just 10 days ahead of the WTC match, but Sharma said some players whose IPL teams exit from the tournament early will be sent to the UK.

“Around May 21, there will be six teams who will be possibly out of IPL play-off contention and so whichever players are available, we will try and find time to get them to (the) UK as early as possible,” he said.

Australia made the final after their win in the third Test in Indore, and stand-in-skipper Steve Smith remains excited to play India again in London. “It’s going to be great coming up against India in the final,” he said.

“The Oval, the wicket there can take spin at times, particular­ly as the game wears on, so it could be interestin­g in terms of what sort of wicket we get. It’s a great place to play cricket, there’s usually reasonable pace and bounce for an English wicket.

“It’s probably as close as you get to Australia in terms of pace and bounce.”

 ?? ?? FORMAT PLAN: Rohit Sharma
FORMAT PLAN: Rohit Sharma

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