After marginally missing out on a spot in the inaugural World Test Championship (WTC) final, Australia will look to go a step further in the second edition which will be played between August 2021 and June 2023. However, the road ahead won’t be easy as Australia will be playing eight Tests, including 4 Tests against India, on the subcontinent dustbowls.
Given Australia’s miserable record, where they have won just two of the 17 games since 2011 in the subcontinent, they will have to toil hard to book a berth in the final. Star Australian batsman Steve Smith also accepted that the tours to the subcontinent will be very challenging. However, the former Australian skipper was confident of his team’s chances.
“I’ve had a look at the Future Tours Programme (FTP) and it’s pretty hectic, so there’s plenty to look forward to, obviously including the Ashes and then tours to the subcontinent which, particularly in Test cricket, they challenge you physically, mentally and emotionally,” Smith told cricket.com.au.
“They’re great tours to be involved in and really test you as a player. I’m certainly looking forward to those,” added Smith.
Smith also lauded the concept of the WTC, adding the tournament gives more relevance to every game. Smith admitted the team was disappointed after missing out on a spot in the final but emphasised they will do everything possible to give themselves a fair chance to claim the title next time around.
“I think (the WTC) is a pretty cool concept — to have more relevance in every game you play, I think is great.
“We were obviously very disappointed not to be (in the final), and over the last couple of years we talked about it being our focus of where we wanted to get to, but we fell short. So, we’ve got some work to do as a team to give ourselves the best chance to be there next time.”
Smith is currently recovering from an elbow injury he picked up in the first leg of Indian Premier League. The right-hand batsman has made it clear that he is ready to skip the T20 World Cup to be fully fit for the Ashes.
Australia will host Afghanistan in November for a one-off Test before crossing swords with England in the Ashes. The Tim Paine led side suffered a humiliating defeat to India in their last series. England, on the other hand, will play 5 Tests against India before the marquee series.