WTC final: Team India’s plans ahead of clash at The Oval

Soon after 12 noon IST on Monday, Team India’s mission of reaching the World Test Championship (WTC) final was accomplished after New Zealand beat Sri Lanka in a nail-biting finish in the first Test in Christchurch. What remained to be seen thereafter was whether India could trigger yet another Australian collapse on the final day in Ahmedabad and win the series 3-1.

The margin, however, remained 2-1 in India’s favour as the final Test meandered to a draw with the Motera pitch continuing to remain docile.

The dismissal of nightwatchman Matthew Kuhnemann early on Monday did raise India’s victory hopes. But Travis Head (90) and Marnus Labuschagne (63 not out) remained unscathed till lunch as well as for a good part of the second session which nullified all possibilities of a result.

Australia were 175/2 in their second innings an hour after tea when both teams opted for the customary handshake. India, though, already seem to have started planning for the WTC final at The Oval beginning on June 7.

Acknowledging that it will be a different ball game, captain Rohit Sharma stated that the workload of the quicks — Mohammed Shami, Umesh Yadav and Mohammed Siraj — will also be monitored during the IPL. Besides, all those players whose IPL teams fail to make the playoffs are likely to assemble in London for a fortnight-long conditioning camp ahead of the WTC final.

“Around May 21, there will be six teams that will possibly be out of the IPL playoffs contention. Of the players available, we’ll try and find time to get them to the UK early as possible.

“We’re sending some (red) Dukes balls to the fast bowlers if they get some time to bowl with that.”