India skipper Rohit Sharma has said the Test team will stay connected in preparing for the World Test Championship (WTC) final despite two months of Twenty20 action in the Indian Premier League (IPL).
India won the cricket series against Australia 2-1 after the fourth Test ended in a draw in Ahmedabad on Monday. The world's two top-ranked teams will battle on June 7-11 at The Oval in the WTC final.
Even before the players shook hands on Day 5, India qualified for the WTC title clash thanks to New Zealand's thrilling last-ball win over Sri Lanka earlier in the day.
"It will be a different ball game with neutral venue for both teams. Both teams have played lot of cricket in that part of the world and I won't say it will be alien conditions," Rohit said of the big clash in London.
But players will now switch to a limited-overs format with the two teams set to play three one-day internationals ahead of the much-awaited IPL starting on March 31.
Rohit said he expected good workload management from his core group of long-format players during the gruelling IPL, which will return with the home and away format for the first time post-pandemic.
"Whatever time we find after IPL, we will try and get ready for that final."
He added that the fast bowlers would be made to practise with Dukes balls, which are used in England and behave differently than the SG leather balls in India or the Kookaburra in Australia.
"It's quite critical for us," said Rohit.
"We're going to keep in constant touch with all our players who will be in that final, and monitor their workload and what's happening with them."
India fast bowlers Mohammed Siraj (Royal Challengers Bangalore), Mohammed Shami (Gujarat Titans) and Umesh Yadav (Kolkata Knight Riders) are among those expected to be heavily involved in the domestic Twenty20 competition.
Rohit said India would make sure the trio were ready for the WTC final.
"We're sending some red Duke balls to all fast bowlers as well," he said.
IPL will conclude with the final on May 28 - 10 days ahead of the WTC match - but Rohit believed players whose IPL teams exit from the tournament early would be sent to London.
"Around May 21, there will be six teams who might be out of IPL play-off contention. So whichever players are available, we will try and get them to the UK as early as possible," he said.
India's coach Rahul Dravid also acknowledged the challenge of playing the WTC final a week after IPL ends.
"It is going to be a challenge. There's going to be a lot of logistics involved. We'll have to think about it," Dravid said.
Australia made the final after their win in the third Test in Indore and stand-in-skipper Steve Smith is excited to meet India in London.
"It's going to be great coming up against India in the final. At The Oval, the wicket can take spin at times as the game wears on. So it can get interesting in terms of what sort of wicket we get," he said.
"It's a great place to play cricket, there's usually reasonable pace and bounce for an English wicket. It's probably as close as you get to Australia in terms of pace and bounce."
"It will be a different ball game with neutral venue for both teams. Both teams have played lot of cricket in that part of the world and I won't say it will be alien conditions."
- India skipper Rohit Sharma (left, pictured with Australia skipper Steve Smith, Australia Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and India Prime Minister Narendra Modi before the start of the fourth Test in Ahmedabad.)