India are on course to reach their second straight World Test Championship final and if they end up winning here, a pace-friendly track could be laid out in the final game of the series in Ahmedabad to prepare for the summit clash in London in June.
Before the start of the Border-Gavaskar trophy, India needed to beat Australia 3-0 or 3-1 to qualify for the WTC final and keep the destiny in their own hands.
India skipper Rohit Sharma doesn’t want to jump the gun but, ahead of the third Test beginning at the Holkar Stadium on Wednesday, he said the team has already spoken about simulating English conditions in the fourth and final game against Australia.
There is a strong possibility that India might end up facing Australia in the WTC final.
“It will be a different ball game (facing Australia in England) for both teams, actually. There is definitely a possibility of that (Ahmedabad as preparatory game for WTC final). We have already spoken about it. We need to get the guys ready for it,” Rohit said in a media interaction.
The WTC final will be played at The Oval in London from June 7-11, right after the IPL. Rohit Sharma said Shardul Thakur becomes an important member of the side in overseas conditions.
“The important one is Shardul Thakur, because he comes into the planning for us. We don’t know how ready he is since he has just got married (laughs). We don’t know how many overs he has bowled. But that thought process is definitely there.
“If we get the result we want here (Indore), we might think of doing something different in Ahmedabad for sure.
“But we are not there yet. We have to win this game and then talk about it. That’ll be the right thing to do,” he said.
‘You are never in on these wickets’
India are well on their way to their 16th straight series win at home. Rohit feels reaching the WTC final will be a big achievement for his team, as winning even at home has not been easy.
“Yes there are home conditions but they are challenging conditions; it is not easy for the batters to score runs consistently.” Australia have collapsed in the second innings of both the Tests and Rohit said it shows how hard it is to play in Indian conditions.
“Yeah….that’s the beauty of this game and the pitches we are playing on. It can happen to us as well, not just them. I played 200 balls in Nagpur and never felt set. It just takes one ball to grip or keep low and you are out. On pitches like this, you are never in.
“Yes, we have quality spinners who can change things around just like that but that does not give us the guarantee that we are going to win the Test or roll them over in one session. We have got to keep the discipline going,” he said.
Rohit promised that the spinners will keep coming at the Australians relentlessly as the visitors look to find ways to slow down the momentum generated by Ashwin and Co.
“It comes very naturally to (Ravindra) Jadeja. Sometimes it is difficult as captain. If you want to push a fielder a couple of yards behind, Jadeja is already running in. It is a very valid point. You don’t want to give the opposition time to think what they want to do. These are small tactical things that are very important,” said Rohit.
Having scored the only hundred of the series, Rohit is expecting more runs from the top order and wants the lower-order comprising Jadeja, Axar Patel and Ashwin to carry on in the same vein.
“Last game specifically after 139 for seven, to get to 260 was a great effort. In this team, Axar, Jadeja and Ashwin bat in the lower order but Axar when he plays domestic cricket he bats at five. They all are quality batters. It doesn’t matter whether runs come from top or lower order, the end result for the team is what matters. We are in a stage we can create that depth in our batting.
“Yes the runs have not come from the top order as expected but the quality they bring to the table that is what matters to us,” said the skipper.
‘Test matches should be organised everywhere in country’
The crowd turnout in the first two Tests made a good advert for Test cricket and a big crowd is expected too on day one of the third Test here.
When he was captain, Virat Kohli wanted Test cricket to be played in five centres around the country but Rohit said it should be taken “everywhere”.
“All the Test centres we are playing in, we have got decent crowds in almost every game. Delhi was quite surprising. The crowd in Delhi was superb. We have not seen many people turn up in big centres especially. That was how other centres started getting Tests. Test cricket should be played everywhere in India. Why just big centres? We want to take the game to all parts of India,” he added.