"I would have said that both bowling attacks are strong" - Ravi Shastri on Jasprit Bumrah's absence in WTC final
Former India head coach Ravi Shastri feels that the absence of speedster Jasprit Bumrah from the Indian pace battery gives the Australian pace attack an edge. Shastri stressed on the presence of star bowler Mitchell Starc and captain Pat Cummins in the Australian ranks, making them more lethal than India's attack on paper.
Jasprit Bumrah has arguably been one of the best fast bowlers in Test cricket since his debut in the format. However, he hasn't played competitive cricket since September last year due to a lower back injury and has also undergone surgery to try and recover in time for the ODI World Cup later this year.
"If Jasprit Bumrah was there in the Indian squad, I would have said that both bowling attacks are strong. But their (Australian attack) has Pat Cummins and Mitchell Starc."
Ravi Shastri on the importance of 'personalities' in Test cricket
Ravi Shastri also cited the example of legendary England all-rounder Ian Botham while explaining how players with a certain swagger about them can lift the morale of a team. He underlined how England won the 1981 Ashes despite being a weaker team on paper than Australia.
On this, Shastri stated:
"Absolutely, you need characters, you need personalities. It is not about runs, wickets and averages. You need characters to make people watch the game. I remember coming here in 1981, England was playing its worst cricket, but Ian Botham single-handedly turned the Ashes on its head. It gave a much-needed injection to Test cricket, and the English cricket. He put a lot of people on the seats."
India will hope that the likes of Virat Kohli, who wear their heart on their sleeve, are able to lift the team with their energy.