The former Australian cricketer and World Cup winning captain, Michael Clarke, feels that it will be the Indian team that will face Australia in the final of the upcoming ICC Champions Trophy that kicks from June 1 in England.
Clarke predicted this on the basis that Australia have a strong pace bowling line-up, which will be work in favour of the team as he said,
“I see India and Australia in final. The conditions in the UK are going to play a big part. For example, if there’s swing and seam on offer, Australian pacers will be tough to face. That will hold us in good stead. The likes of Mitchell Starc, James Pattinson, Josh Hazlewood, Pat Cummins can be tough to face,” Clarke told reporters on sidelines of a promotional event.
Surely, the conditions in England have always been in favour of pacers and the young bunch of fast bowlers which Australia have, it can be said that they are the favourites as at present, Mitchell Starc is undoubtedly the best bowler and Pat Cummins also has the ability to bowl at more 145 km/hr at regular basis, which is a bonus for Australia.
Further, Clarke praised the Indian spinners Ravindra Jadeja and Ravichandran Ashwin, who performed quite well in the home season and for both, the domestic season was a record breaking one,
“If it’s hot and the wicket spins, there are no better exponents (on those tracks) than Ashwin and Jadeja. That will be in India’s favour. In Jadeja, India has the luxury of a quality spinner, who can bat. He is as good a spinner as anybody in world cricket,” said Clarke
In the last Champions Trophy as well it was the pair of Ashwin and Jadeja which was quite crucial in team India’s success and again, the duo have the responsibility on their shoulder to do the job. In fact, Jadeja was the highest wicket taker in 2013 Champions Trophy and he will be the main weapon for the Virat Kohli-led side in the title defence.
Though team India is going as one of the favourites but there is one fear, as the Indian batsmen haven’t performed well in this year’s IPL. Likes of Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane, Yuvraj Sigh haven’t been able to perform well in the lucrative league, especially captain Kohli, who has been out of form since the Test series against Australia.
This can be a major concern for the team heading into the tournament but Clarke opined that it’s a totally different game and team India’s batsmen will be in form soon,
“It’s a different format (50 over). You get more chance to build your innings during batting. I don’t think the Indian batsmen will be too concerned about their form in IPL or not,” Clarke added.
The Indian team will take on Pakistan on June 4 in their first game of title defence. They face Sri Lanka and South in their next two league stage matches, which will decide team India’s stay in the tournament.