For Indian pacer Ishant Sharma, the journey to the final of the inaugural World Test Championship has been an emotional one. He says that the occasion is like a "World Cup final."
India will take on New Zealand in the final of the WTC between June 18-22 in Southampton.
"This journey, besides being practical, is also an emotional journey. This is an ICC (International Cricket Council) tournament and is a final. It is like a World Cup final," said Ishant Sharma in a video posted by bcci.tv.
"Virat has always said that this is not a one-month effort; it is the result of the hard work put in over the past two years. And (for us) there was more hard work because in between there was Covid-19 pandemic. After that, the rules for WTC changed and we were under tremendous pressure," said Sharma adding that the series against Australia was the turning point for the team.
"We had a tough series in Australia where we won (2-1 and retained the Border-Gavaskar trophy). I was not a part of that series but I felt that the series gave a different type of self-belief. In India, we had to win by at least a 3-1 margin (against England). We lost the first match and then made a comeback, said Sharma.
Fellow pacer Mohammed Shami, meanwhile, said the Indian team will have to put in "more than its 100 percent" if it wants to win the final against New Zealand.
"We need to give our 100, may be 110 percent, in this match because this is the final effort of our two years of hard work. Double your effort in the coming few days," Shami said.
Shami felt the belief the team got from the win in Australia was "very good for the confidence".
"The best part was, obviously, there were no senior players and that was a big moment for Indian cricket. The performance of the youngsters in Australia was truly praiseworthy. It has taken our confidence to a different level."
Spinner R Ashwin said the WTC final brought some context to Test cricket.
"I think for a long time cricketers have wanted this sort of a space, some context to Test cricket. I'm looking forward to the final."
All the bowlers felt adjusting to the English conditions would be the key to success.
"Experience plays a very big role in Test format especially in such conditions. Clouds, wind, weather etc. So, it really helps if you know the conditions well," said Shami.
Ashwin said being aware of the conditions can make the difference between victory and defeat.
"Conditions are king here and sometimes, on a very funny note, I say 'you don't need to cover the ground or the pitch here, you need to cover the clouds in England'. There are two aspects to playing cricket here -- first is looking down at the pitch and second is looking upwards," added Ashwin.