India last won an ICC trophy at the senior men’s level way back in 2013 when they beat England in the final of the Champions Trophy. After coming close in the previous World Test Championship where they finished runners-up, India will be aiming to go one step further this time and get their hands on the elusive silverware.
Australia, on the other hand, have won both the ODI and the T20 World Cups in the last eight years and will be looking to complete their trophy cabinet by winning the World Test Championship for the first time.
There’s a lot of hype heading into the big finale, with experts and pundits voicing their opinions and predictions as to which way the match can go.
Shastri said Australia hold the ‘man-to-man’ advantage and that they are the stronger team on paper. However, he emphasised the lack of long-format game time for both teams and said that match fitness will hold the key.
“Where Shami might just come in and do the damage in the first half an hour because he’s been playing so much, as opposed to someone settling in to a line length and the right areas to bowl,” said the ex-India coach in the An Afternoon with Test Cricket Legends event, mentioning the importance of starting well and on target.
Ponting has placed Australia as ‘slight favourites’ as he believes that the conditions on offer will be closer to what is available in Australia than in India. However, he noted that the last couple of times India have played Test cricket in Australian conditions, they have done well.
He also pointed out the difference in preparation for both teams in the lead-up to the WTC Final and said that the India players might be fatigued from the long season of IPL that they have just played.
Akram has also backed Australia as the favourites for the WTC Final but said that the toss will play a crucial role and so will the weather conditions.
Weather had a massive impact in the previous World Test Championship Final as two days were washed out and the game went on to the reserve day. However, the forecasts for the 2023 WTC Final look promising.
Hussain believes that India will have the edge if they are prepared to be pragmatic about their team selection. He felt that they made a mistake in the last WTC Final against New Zealand by playing two spinners in cloudy conditions where seam and swing dominated.
In the ICC Review, Hussain said that if similar conditions are on offer again, India should learn from their mistakes and not be ‘wary of leaving one of your legends out.’