London [UK], June 5 (ANI): Ahead of the high-octane ICC World Test Championship (WTC) final 2023, Australia's star batter Steve Smith said he is not thinking much about 'The Ultimate Test' and hoped that the summit clash will be a "good game of cricket."The WTC Final is all set to be played at The Oval from June 7-11. Australia, led by Pat Cummins, will face off against India, captained by Rohit Sharma, for the coveted Test Mace.
Smith believed that Australia can beat India and there will be a "good game of cricket" in the WTC final.
"We believe we can do well and beat India. We have played good cricket over the years. We obviously played some good cricket in the last few years. They also played really good cricket. The two best teams playing in the final are great. Hopefully, it is going to be a good game of cricket. I am not thinking about the opposition too much. It is a big week for both India and Australia," Smith said at the pre-match press conference.
Spinners Ravindra Jadeja and Ravichandran Ashwin loom as key players, especially after the duo dominated as India retained the Border-Gavaskar Trophy with a 2-1 series triumph over Australia earlier this year. The spin twins were separated when Jadeja was preferred over Ashwin for all five Tests - including the fourth match at The Oval - the last time India toured England in 2021-22.
While the pair made the most of pitches suited to spinners in that series, Ashwin has also shown he can perform in all conditions to gather the third-most wickets in the current WTC cycle with 61 scalps in 13 Tests.
Experienced seamers Mohammed Shami and Mohammed Siraj are almost certain to share the new ball for Rohit Sharma's side, while Umesh Yadav and Jaydev Unadkat are also in contention alongside recalled all-rounder Shardul Thakur.
"India have got a good mix of Seam and swing bowler and their spinners as well. They have got s good attack. Mohammed Shami and Mohammed Siraj are the two main guys.....and there are spinners as well who found these conditions well. So India have a good attack and we have to play very well against them," the Australia batter said.
"Every game you play for your country is important. Every series is important. 50 over World Cup is far away but we will focus on that later but we would want to win it. Test cricket still remains. It stays in mind for some time to come," he added.
And Josh Hazlewood's replacement in the Australia squad, Michael Neser, has all the skills to come straight into the XI and make a big impact if called upon, according to the former Aussie captain.
"(I've got) so much faith, he is a quality performer. I faced him against (County side) Glamorgan a couple of weeks ago and he bowled beautifully. He has got great skills and he's added some of the inswingers we have seen him bowl when the wicket is a bit flatter. So he has got loads of skills and is batting nicely as well, so he is a great package. If he gets an opportunity he will certainly do a very good job," Smith said at The Oval. (ANI)