In the lead-up to the highly anticipated World Test Championship (WTC) final between India and Australia, a discussion has been ignited by Dinesh Karthik’s early insight into the pitch conditions at The Oval. The focus of the debate revolves around the selection of players for India’s lineup, particularly whether both spinners Ravindra Jadeja and Ravichandran Ashwin should be included or if a fourth seamer should be opted for by resting Ashwin.
Another concern has been raised regarding India’s batting prowess and their ability to counter Australia’s relentless fast bowlers, particularly if the pitch retains its green nature. Karthik has expressed his belief that the Indian management might consider choosing Umesh Yadav over R Ashwin, a view that differs from other experts such as Ricky Ponting, who advocate for the inclusion of both spinners. While acknowledging Ashwin’s impressive performance in the Southampton Test against England last year, Karthik emphasized that Umesh has shown outstanding form in practice sessions and appears to be physically fit.
“I enjoyed Ashwin bowling in Southampton, but – is the coach gonna do the same thing again? I doubt it. Umesh Yadav has bowled well in the nets. He is looking sharp and feeling good body-wise. I have a strong feeling they’ll go with Umesh,” Karthik shared during an interview with Cricbuzz.
Karthik also discussed the form of Indian captain Virat Kohli, highlighting his recent back-to-back centuries in the IPL 2023. “He batted exceptionally well right from the start. In the first game, he scored 70 against Mumbai Indians, displaying his top-notch skills towards the end of the IPL. His two hundreds were phenomenal. Kohli is in brilliant form, and I have no doubt he will deliver a good score,” Karthik remarked.
However, Karthik emphasized the significance of Cheteshwar Pujara’s role in the batting lineup, placing even greater importance on him than Kohli. Pujara enters the final after an impressive stint for Sussex in the County Championship, accumulating 545 runs, including three centuries.
“For me, the key to India’s success in the WTC final and their chances of victory lies with Cheteshwar Pujara,” Karthik concluded.