London, June 5 (VOICE) Former Australia all-rounder Shane Watson believes the transition period for players from both India and Australia ahead of the World Test Championship Final, starting at The Oval from Wednesday, is going to be extreme.
Only two members from Australia’s squad – David Warner and Cameron Green — featured in IPL 2023, while Michael Neser, Steven Smith, Marcus Harris and Marnus Labuschagne played County Championship matches.
It means that the majority of the players in the WTC Final squad, including Australia captain Pat Cummins, haven’t played a lot of competitive cricket since this ‘ear’s Border-Gavaskar Trophy series ended in early March in India.
From an Indian perspective, Cheteshwar Pujara had been playing for Sussex in the County Championship while the rest of the 14 members played in IPL 2023. With IPL 2023 ending in the wee hours of May 30, making a switch in the formats at short notice will undoubtedly be a huge challenge.
“There’s no doubt that this transition period for the guys I think is going to have to be extreme. Get as much volume as they possibly can facing new balls, trying to get the nets as spiced up as possible.”
“That’s the only way you can get your game back into hitting the ball under your eyes. Yes, you need that positive, aggressive intent but still understanding what balls you can score off and what balls are higher risk,” Watson was quoted as saying by ESPNCricinfo.
Watson, who played in IPL 2013 and 2015 before switching formats to play the Ashes in England, also believes players have very little time to waste in whatever training days they have in hand ahead of the marquee final.
“I didn’t have that quick a turnaround. It was always a challenge. Whether it’s going into a winter Ashes series or whether it’s going from a T20 series in Australia, flying and playing a Test match pretty much straight away is a big challenge. The thing you’ve got to understand is what you really need to work on if you’ve only got a couple of days,” he added.
Watson felt not having a tour match ahead of the WTC Final will make things tougher in terms of adjusting to conditions in England. “That’s where having a couple of tour matches, in particular, to get used to the ball just consistently swinging and doing something is what you really need to get your head around it.”
“So for these guys having such a quick turnaround and not having a tour match, it’s going to be a huge challenge. Just to be able to get your game plan really locked in and then be able to do it ball after ball for a longer period of time.”
“But obviously it’s a really quick turnaround for a few of the bowlers in particular. Again, it’s going to be sink or swim. They’ve got no choice. They’ve just got to throw themselves into it and hope that their bodies can hold up and the captains are able to manage the bowlers who are going into playing this Test without a lot of work under their belt,” he concluded.