Rohit Sharma & Virat Kohli will be key for India in the WTC final: Michael Hussey
Virat Kohli captained India in the WTC 2019-21 final, while Rohit Sharma will lead the Indian side this year.
Mike Hussey, the former Australia cricketer, has picked veteran India batter Virat Kohli and captain Rohit Sharma as the key players for the Indian team ahead of the India-Australia World Test Championship (WTC 2023) final.
The second ICC World Test Championship Final will be played between India and Australia at the Oval in London from June 7-11 with 12 being a reserve day. This is Australia’s maiden appearance in the WTC final, while India played the WTC 2021 final against New Zealand at Southampton and lost to the Kiwis.
They will have their second turn to win the elusive ICC silverware which has deserted them since MS Dhoni led the Men in Blue to the Champions Trophy title in 2013. Since then India has reached the finals of the 2014 T20 World Cup and the WTC final in 2021, and the semi-finals of the 2015 World Cup, 2016 T20 World cup, and the 2019 World Cup, getting eliminated without touching the trophy.
Ahead of the crucial final, Mike Hussey, on the ICC Review podcast, reckons that India captain Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli will have significant roles to play in the match.
Speaking to the ICC, Hussey said: “It’s hard to see past Virat Kohli. He (Kohli) is obviously coming back into some great form again in all forms of the game really, so both he and Rohit Sharma with the bat are going to be important for India.”
Kohli, in particular, will look to replicate his recent success in IPL 2023 in the WTC final. Before traveling to London, he recently smashed a couple of centuries for the Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB). He finished with 639 runs in 14 games at a strike rate of 53.25, including two tons and six half-centuries.
Rohit will look to return to form after an underwhelming IPL season with the bat. The 36-year-old scored 332 runs in 16 games. He, however, scored 120 in the first Test during the Border-Gavaskar Trophy.
“Pat Cummins is key for Australia” – Mike Hussey ahead of WTC final
The return of Pat Cummins and Josh Hazlewood, according to Mike Hussey, would be a significant help for Australia in English conditions. The 48-year-old added that Steve Smith will be vital with the bat for Australia in the WTC final.
“It is going to be played in England so that English conditions will be different to the recent series in India, so I think the fast bowlers are going to be important. Pat Cummins (is key for Australia) and Josh Hazlewood might be fit again which would be nice for Australia.
Someone like Steve Smith, he loves playing in England. His record in England is phenomenal and he is always hungry for runs,” he added.
Smith recently scored 89 for Sussex against Glamorgan in the ongoing County Championship Division Two.
I just want to see two great teams go head-to-head and see who comes out on top: Mike Hussey
Meanwhile, Hussey has not ruled out the threat posed by Mohammed Shami and Mohammed Siraj. The veteran also stated that spin all-rounders Ravindra Jadeja and Ravichandran Ashwin will play an important part in the WTC final.
He said: “But India has got so many great bowlers as well. You’ve got (Mohammed) Siraj and (Mohammed) Shami and obviously the spinners with (Ravindra) Jadeja and (Ravichandran) Ashwin as well.
It’s a world-class attack and the Aussies are going to have to be at their best to beat them. I just want to see two great teams go head-to-head and see who comes out on top. We just want to see good, hard, fair cricket and whoever comes out on top deserves to. And it should be a fantastic match.”
The duo will look to exploit the conditions to their advantage as India aims to win the WTC final.