“Openers will have to play…” Wasim Jaffer Emphasized The Role Of Openers In The WTC Final

Former India cricketer Wasim Jaffer has emphasized the pivotal role the opening batters will play in the much-anticipated World Test Championship Final between India and Australia. With the summit clash set to take place at The Oval from 7th June, Jaffer believes that the challenging conditions in England, combined with the formidable Australian pace attack, will make the performance of the openers crucial in determining the match’s outcome.

According to Jaffer, England poses one of the most demanding batting conditions due to the sideways movement of the ball. The ever-changing weather conditions in England further complicate matters, creating a dynamic playing surface. The usage of the Duke’s ball, known for its ability to swing and reverse swing, adds another layer of complexity. Jaffer emphasizes that the openers will face a significant challenge in dealing with the pace and skill of Mitchell Starc and Pat Cummins, who can clock speeds of 145 kmph.

“Openers will have to play a massive role. England is the most challenging place to bat because of the sideways movement. Conditions change so drastically because of the weather. It changes quickly. The Duke’s ball also poses a lot of problems. As the ball gets old, it will keep swinging and also starts to reverse. With Starc and Cummins, running at 145 kph, it is going to be challenging,” said Jaffer.

Speaking specifically about the Australian bowling unit, Jaffer singled out Pat Cummins as the bowler India should be particularly cautious of. With his ability to exploit the Duke’s ball, Cummins can become a formidable force if the conditions favor the Australian team. Jaffer warns that if Cummins finds assistance from the pitch, he could make life difficult for the Indian openers.

“Cummins will be a different beast with the Duke’s balls. If the conditions will be slightly in favor of them, then they will make life miserable for the Indian openers,” Jaffer said in the interview.

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The Indian players will be coming off an intense two months of white-ball cricket in the Indian Premier League 2023. However, only Cheteshwar Pujara in the Indian lineup has had recent experience playing competitive red-ball cricket. Jaffer acknowledges that adjusting quickly from the T20 format to Test cricket can be challenging. The limited preparation time without match practice adds to the concern. Nonetheless, Jaffer believes that modern players adapt to different formats swiftly and expects the Indian team to make a seamless transition.

“Things are looking good, but the only concern is that they have played so much T20 cricket in the past two months, and for them to adjust quickly, that is going to be a challenge without having any match practice, only four or five days of preparation. I am sure cricketers nowadays have learned to make that switch very quickly,” Jaffer concluded.

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