India are not in a great situation after the end of Day 3 in an ICC final after conceding a first-innings lead of 173 runs to Australia on a seaming pitch. While Mohammed Siraj and Mohammed Shami have been potent in the game, Umesh Yadav and Shardul Thakur looked a bit rusty having not got a lot of overs under their belt in the IPL. "India's performance in the WTC final against Australia has shown their preparation was not ideal," said Ricky Ponting. He especially targeted the pacers of the Indian Team.
Thakur bowled 21 overs in the whole IPL and Umesh bowled 19. It was less than what they bowled in Australia's first innings at the Oval in the WTC Final.
"I think they have been outplayed so far. Their preparation wasn't probably ideal coming into a one-off Test with all their players being at the IPL. You know, few of the Australian boys were there. Few of the Australian boys hadn't done anything for three months either," Ponting said.
"I don't know. For Virat, he would say that it's been perfect for him because he has got all sorts of runs. If you asked Rahane, he wouldn't have been picked for this match without the IPL. So it's going to work both ways."
"I had a chat with Shardul this morning, he said he's started to feel the pinch because he has not been able to get enough bowling. The over that he has bowled in a day and a half, he bowled in the whole of IPL." Ponting added.
"I sort of underlined coming into this game what was the best preparation. was it out and playing pretty high-quality competitive cricket in the IPL or was it better off being at home and resting up and doing a bit of non-competitive training? So far it's shown that both teams have been a bit rusty."
"One-off game and in the time of the year, there's never going to be ideal preparation time for anybody. But you got to do the best you can to get prepared and get ready and try and execute it on the day. I mean, Travis Head is a great example, hasn't picked up a bat for a few months.".
Ajinkya Rahane's 89 against a formidable pace attack brought back India into the match. It made Ponting wonders why he was not on the team in the first place.
"He played beautifully. I said at the lunch break when you can play like that, you wonder why he hasn't been picked for the team… he has always been a classy-looking player, a player that has a good defense, we know his record suggests that he plays at his best when his team needs him the most."
"He has got a few more Tests against the West Indies. If he makes runs in those games, with (Shreyas) Iyer and KL Rahul getting fit, the selectors will have some big decisions to make," said the former Australia captain.
Ponting added that he would not change anything to the current WTC format. He is all for a one-off game rather than a best-of-three final.
"I love it. I wish I was there when I was playing. It's a World Cup final over five days. They have been the best two teams in the world over the last two years."