India aiming to break world title drought at The Oval

With an upcoming World Test Championship Final and home World Cup, India have a huge chance to break a 12-year title drought in 2023

They might be the geopolitical superpower of international cricket, but India have endured 10 ICC global tournaments stretching across more than 12 years without any silverware to show for their efforts.

Their chance to end that lean streak begins on Wednesday at The Oval where they meet Australia in the second iteration of the World Test Championship Final, before they host the ICC ODI World Cup on home turf later this year.

It was the previous occasion India served as co-host of that global 50-over showpiece – the 2011 tournament that culminated at Mumbai's Wankhede Stadium with the home team's six-wicket triumph over Sri Lanka – that India could legitimately claim status as world champions.

In the intervening dozen years, they've seen the ODI crown claimed by Australia and England – both playing on their home patches – in 2015 and 2019 respectively, with India not reaching the final in either of those events.

Their run at the biennial T20 World Cup has been even leaner since they won the inaugural tournament held in South Africa in 2007, with a last-gasp victory over close neighbours and arch rivals Pakistan.

Since then, the title of T20 champion has been claimed by Pakistan (2009), England (2010 and 2022), West Indies (2012 and 2016), Sri Lanka (2014) and Australia (2021), with India's only appearance in the decider coming at Dhaka in Bangladesh.

India did reach the historic first final of the WTC staged at Southampton's Rose Bowl two years ago, but suffered an eight-wicket loss to New Zealand as the Black Caps lifted their first trophy at any ICC global event.

And it's not only been the men's game where luck has eluded India on the biggest stage.

Their increasingly assured women's team has yet to achieve success at 50-over World Cups that began in 1973 – two years before the men's equivalent – with the 12 iterations of that tournament to date dominated by Australia (seven times champion), England (four) and New Zealand (once in 2000).

The T20 version of the women's global events has been all but monopolised by Australia with six wins from eight events, the other titles shared by England (2009) and West Indies (2016) with India runners-up to Australia at the MCG in 2020.

India's Virat Kohli (left) and Mohammed Shami (left) at The Oval this week // ICC via Getty

"Whether it's me or someone else (as captain), even the guys before, their role was to take Indian cricket forward and win as many games, as many championships as possible," India's men's team skipper Rohit Sharma said on the eve of the WTC Final.

"For me also, it will be the same.

"I want to win games; I want to win championships.

"That is what you play for and it will be nice to win some titles, win some extraordinary series.

"But having said that, I genuinely feel that we don't want to put too much pressure on ourselves by overthinking about this kind of stuff.

"The next five days will be quite challenging for us and gives us the opportunity to win the championship, but we do understand that winning the championship is not easy."

Rohit and his teammates found out just how difficult winning those global titles can be in the maiden WTC Final two years ago, when they started slight favourites against Kane Williamson's Kiwis.

But after Rohit and his opening partner Shubman Gill made a solid start against the new ball with a first-wicket stand of 62, New Zealand's Kyle Jamieson wrought havoc amid India's top and middle-order with the first innings closing on 217.

The Black Caps then banked a lead of just 32 against rival seamers Ishant Sharma (who claimed 3-48, but is not playing in this week's final) and Mohammad Shami (4-78), before India's batting again folded against NZ's seam attack to be bowled out for 170.

Despite two early wickets to off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin – who seems the bowler most likely to miss this Final if India opt for a seam-based attack plus all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja – the Black Caps chased the 139 needed for a breakthrough ICC crown without further loss.

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"Last time we played, we did make a few mistakes, which we have already spoken about in this group," Rohit said today when asked what his team might glean from their unsuccessful tilt of two years ago.

"Obviously, there are a few guys missing from that squad, but … we know exactly what went wrong for us in the last championship final.

"So we hopefully will not repeat those kind of things.

"That is all you want to do as a sportsman.

"You don't want to repeat mistakes that can get the better results eventually.

"We've played the opposition (Australia) a fair bit in the last two or three months so we know what they are capable of."

Australia might be making their maiden appearance in a World Test Championship Final, but a number of their 15-man squad hold experience gained from participation in similar championship deciders (albeit in limited-overs formats).

Test skipper Pat Cummins was part of the team that secured Australia's first T20 World Cup in the UAE two years ago, along with Steve Smith, David Warner and Mitchell Starc, while Warner, Starc and Smith were also members of the ODI World Cup-winning outfit at the MCG in 2015.

"One thing about playing lots of cricket is you get experience in pressure moments," Cummins said yesterday.

"And in finals, there is no higher-pressure situation.

"That's one of the benefits of having an experienced side.

"We have seen it all before, we have been in these moments and we've taken confidence to know no matter what happens, you will be okay on the other side of it.

"Just take the game on and enjoy it.

"That's what you'll see from our group this week."

World Test Championship Final

June 7-11: Australia v India, The Oval

Australia squad: Pat Cummins (c), Scott Boland, Alex Carey (wk), Cameron Green, Marcus Harris, Travis Head, Josh Inglis (wk), Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Nathan Lyon, Todd Murphy, Michael Neser, Steve Smith (vc), Mitchell Starc, David Warner

India squad: Rohit Sharma (c), Shubman Gill, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane, Ishan Kishan (wk), KS Bharat (wk), Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Axar Patel, Shardul Thakur, Mohammad Shami, Mohammed Siraj, Umesh Yadav, Jaydev Unadkat

Find out everything you need to know for the World Test Championship Final here