India head coach Rahul Dravid believes that the relative absence of hype surrounding the World Test Championship (WTC) final could work to India’s advantage as they prepare to face Australia. With the focus on the Ashes series, the WTC final has been somewhat overshadowed, allowing India to approach the match without added pressure. Dravid emphasized that the result of one game would not significantly impact the long-standing challenges faced by Test cricket.
The Indian team, led by Rohit Sharma, quietly arrived in England, slipping into Arundel amidst the tranquil surroundings. While both teams arrived in London over the weekend, media attention was primarily focused on the FA Cup final, train strikes, and England’s cricket match against Ireland at Lord’s. Media briefings with the Australian contingent were dominated by discussions about the upcoming Ashes series, making the WTC final appear more like a warm-up for the marquee event.
Despite the growing excitement around the Ashes, the India-Australia rivalry has emerged as one of the most captivating contests in recent years. Australia captain Pat Cummins acknowledged India as the team that has consistently troubled Australia, particularly with their successive away victories in the Border-Gavaskar Trophy. However, pundits such as Ricky Ponting and Wasim Akram believe that Australia holds a slight edge due to the warmer temperatures and longer boundaries at the Oval, which provide true bounce.
Rahul Dravid expressed his confidence in the Indian team’s abilities and remained unfazed by external factors. He emphasized that the outcome of the match would be determined by the performance over the five days, rather than the hype or preconceived favorites. Dravid believed that the absence of hype could actually work in India’s favor.
Dravid dismissed the notion that India felt pressure from the expectation of winning an ICC trophy. While acknowledging that winning an ICC tournament would be a significant achievement, Dravid emphasized the larger context of the team’s success over the past six years. He highlighted the team’s competitiveness and consistent performances worldwide as indicators of their strength, regardless of the presence or absence of an ICC trophy. The WTC final represents the culmination of two years of hard work for the Indian team.
When asked about the potential impact of an Indian win in the WTC final on the future of Test cricket, Dravid cautioned against drawing direct comparisons with the growth of limited-overs cricket after India’s World Cup victories in 1983 and 2007. Dravid acknowledged that Test cricket faces unique challenges and stated that the result of a single match would not drastically change the circumstances surrounding the format. He reiterated that Test cricket remains a fantastic game that has stood the test of time.