The Indian team is limbering up for the WTC final against New Zealand on June 18, but the biggest hurdle for them could be — no practice match going into the summit clash. While on the other hand, the Kiwis are prepping themselves with a two-Test series against England. The same was pointed out by former India selector Dilip Vengsarkar.
Sarandeep Singh, a former selector as well, has echoed the same sentiment. “The International Cricket Council should’ve arranged a three-day practice match for the Indian team to help them prepare for the WTC final. If the counties aren’t free, it could’ve persuaded the English Cricket Board (ECB) to arrange a second for a second XI of some county. While New Zealand would come into this match on the back of a two-Test series against hosts England, India would be left without match practice despite facing completely different conditions than what they encounter at home. Clearly, the Kiwis would have an edge, when it should be a case of equal opportunity for both the teams," Sarandeep told TOI on Thursday.
“No matter how much you practice in the nets, a warm-up game before playing a Test on foreign soil is a must," he asserted.
Sarandeep has also questioned the scheduling of the final, after the completion of which, Team India will have a gap of 42 days, before the series against England starts.
“If the ICC had scheduled this game in July, things would have been easier on the Indian cricketers. The gap between the WTC final and the England series would’ve been shorter," he felt.
Also there is a speculation that the ECB wanted a big break since The Hundred would also be taking place at that time. “That wouldn’t have been a problem. In Australia, they play a Test match in the morning and the Big Bash League game at night on the same day. How does that affect viewership," he wondered.
While talking about the team combination, he said, “If the conditions are overcast, seamer-friendly and windy, with the pitch offering a green cover, as is most likely going to be, I would prefer to play Shardul any day. He is a genuine swing bowler. Moreover, he adds depth to our batting, which is critical. We saw how his half-century (67) and that seventh wicket partnership of 123 with Washington Sundar helped us win the deciding Test at Brisbane in Australia. If an all-rounder like him is not around, your tail will start after No 6, which is very risky."