Tendulkar talked about the importance of match practice ahead of an occasion as big as the WTC final 2023, he pointed out that India’s Cheteshwar Pujara, and Australian duo of Marnus Labuschagne and Steve Smith featured in the County Championship 2023 to adapt to English conditions. While Labuschagne played for Glamorgan, Pujara and Smith played for Sussex.
“Of course, playing in County cricket can be of great value. Both Pujara and Labuschagne had considerable outings in county cricket recently. Smith not as much as the other two, but whatever match practice one can get is very handy because the conditions are different.
“Our guys have played T20 and now they have gone to England, so are some players from Australia as they were playing T20 here but I believe playing practice matches… no better practice than that,” he said.
The 50-year-old also reckoned that the spin-friendly Oval pitch will make India a confident side going into the World Test Championship final against Australia and their tweakers could become doubly dangerous if they are able to get “that drift” and make the ball talk in the air.
“The Indian team will be happy that they are playing at the Oval. The nature of the Oval pitch is such that it assists the spinners as the match goes on. So, spinners will come into play a little bit.
“It need not be always a turning track as sometimes the spinners rely a lot on the bounce, sometimes that little bit of zip that they get off the pitch, also on the overhead conditions and it depends a lot on the shiny side of the ball.”
“If they are able to get that drift, they can make the ball talk in the air without the pitch coming into play. So, Oval is going to be good venue for India,” said Tendulkar in his website 100mbsports.
India will also carry a positive vibe when they enter the Oval as their last outing at this venue had resulted in an emphatic win — a 157-run romp against England in 2021. Tendulkar said good memories of that match will burn bright and will spur the Indians.
“100 per cent. Whenever you have such memories, they will stay with you. The Indian team would not have forgotten that the last time they played there (the Oval), they had a superb outing. They won the game and as I said good memories stay long with you,” said Tendulkar.
Similarly, England had towelled the Aussies by 135 runs in the 2019 Ashes Test here, and Tendulkar said they might just be hurting a bit. However, the batting maestro added that the Australians can be an extremely competitive side.
“Bruises take some time to heal. But Australia is a beautiful team as they have a balanced squad. There are guys who have been around for a long time now and some young faces as well.
“It is a nice blend of youth and experience. Australia have always been competitive and whether they have a full squad or not, once they cross that rope they are going to be very competitive,” said Tendulkar.
(With input from PTI)
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