Mohammed Shami of India celebrates taking the wicket of BJ Watling of New Zealand during Day 5 of the ICC World Test Championship Final
World Test Championship

World Test Championship hero backs India pace attack to fire in Final

World Test Championship

By Martin Pegan

Hit For Six!

India have the pace attack to trouble Australia in the World Test Championship Final in England even if Jasprit Bumrah remains sidelined through injury, according to WTC winner Ross Taylor.

Spin was the key weapon as India beat Australia 2-1 in the recent Test series on home soil but pace bowlers are expected to lead both attacks when the teams clash again in the WTC Final in June.

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Mohammad Shami was the pick of India’s quicks with nine wickets in the recent series against Australia, while Umesh Yadav took three scalps in two matches and Mohammed Siraj claimed just one victim from 24 overs across three Tests.

While most fast bowlers struggled to make an impact in the Border-Gavaskar series in India, former New Zealand great Taylor expects them to be pivotal when the teams meet in seamer-friendly conditions in the WTC Final at The Oval in England.

“Any time you play in England, conditions and the weather play a big part,” Taylor said.

"Any time you think of Australia and India, and also you're playing in a neutral ground, the seamers play a big part. The Australian seamers are renowned for bowling with the Dukes ball and have a lot of experience.

“I wouldn't rule out this Indian side. They have had a lot of success over there in the years gone past, they have a few of these seamers.”

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Bumrah led the pace attack with Shami and Ishant Sharma when India lost the inaugural WTC Final to New Zealand as Taylor became a national hero when he hit the winning runs.

But Bumrah is in serious doubt for the WTC Final this time after being sidelined with a back stress fracture and last playing for India in September 2022.

Even with Bumrah in a race against time to be fit for the WTC Final, Taylor is confident that India have enough options to call on for pacers to make an impact in England conditions.

“Very tough to replace someone like Bumrah. He's been fantastic in all three formats and is the leader of their bowling attack,” Taylor said.

“But I think there's still enough depth in this Indian line-up to trouble the Australian side. Shami and co are fantastic in these conditions. 

“When you consider the India attack, Siraj and co are also very good with the Dukes ball.”

While Siraj missed out on selection in the WTC Final in 2021, Taylor is confident the 29-year-old can make his mark this time while identifying Shami as a key to India’s chances.

Siraj has taken 47 wickets at an average of 31.29 in 18 Tests, but has the experience of playing five Tests in England in 2021-22 when he claimed the most scalps for India with 18.

Shami took 13 wickets in four Tests in that series, while seamer Shardul Thakur played three matches and Yadav once in the series that is sure to come into the India selectors’ discussions especially if Bumrah remains unavailable.

“I think there are still a lot of (India) seamers that are fantastic and enjoy bowling with the Dukes ball,” Taylor said. 

“Shami and his seam presentation, the way he bowls with the new ball, I think he is going to enjoy bowling with the Dukes ball. These players bowl in all conditions and the way they go about it.

“Umesh Yadav also bowls 140-plus. They will relish the opportunity to bowl with the Dukes ball and in English conditions.”


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