Close up: India captain Rohit Sharma checks the pitch during a practice session at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad
Ahmedabad (India) (AFP) - Australia are adamant they will be “ready for anything” India throw at them in the Cricket World Cup final after controversy hit the tournament in a ‘pitch switch’ row.
India have been the form team of the World Cup, winning all 10 games on their way to Sunday’s showpiece match in Ahmedabad.
But there was controversy in the lead-up to their 70-run semi-final in over New Zealand in Mumbai after it emerged the game was being played on a Wankhede Stadium pitch already used twice before during the tournament rather than a freshly-prepared surface.
“No doubt playing on your own wicket in your own country has some advantages,” Australia captain Pat Cummins told a pre-match press conference on Saturday. “But we’ve played a lot of cricket over here.”
“We’ll be ready in terms of anything they’ll throw at us…we’ll make sure we have some plans.”
The pitch will be the same surface as the one on which India cruised to a seven-wicket pool win over Pakistan last month, when they dismissed their arch-rivals for just 191 after winning the toss.
“My understanding is it’s going to be on the slower side,” said India captain Rohit Sharma later Saturday.
“But we have to assess what it is like tomorrow,” he added, pointing out that while there had been dew on the ground ahead of the Pakistan game, none appeared during the match itself.
“That’s why I keep saying the toss is not going to be a factor, you’ve got to play well to win the game regardless of how well you know the conditions.”
A used pitch had no major bearing on the Mumbai semi-final, with more than 700 runs scored in the game.
Cummins, asked if he had already seen the pitch for the final, replied: “Yeah, just had a look. It looked pretty firm…I think Pakistan played someone there!”
Used pitches generally favour spinners, with slow bowling a key component of a five-man India attack where Kuldeep Yadav and Ravindra Jadeja are expected to bowl 20 of their 50 overs on Sunday.
Australia have already won the World Cup a record five times and 30-year-old fast bowler Cummins, a member of the victorious 2015 side, was excited by having the opportunity to emulate the likes of Steve Waugh and Ricky Ponting by leading the team to another triumph.
“It would be huge,” he said. “We were all kids not too long ago, watching some of those great teams win the 1999, 2003, 2007 World Cups.”
He added: “To be captain would be an absolute privilege…it’d be awesome.
“It (the World Cup) has got the longest history of a world event where all the teams compete.
“You only get a shot at it every four years. So even if you have a long career, you might only play in two of these events. 2015 is still a career highlight for me, but I think tomorrow, if we win, might pip it.”