India’s probable playing XI for ICC WTC final vs Australia
BCCI announced India’s squad for the ICC WTC final vs Australia on Tuesday, 25th April 2023.
The Indian men’s selection panel, on Tuesday, finally announced the squad for ICC World Test Championship (WTC) final against Australia. The high voltage fixture will take place on June 7th at The Oval and it will be India’s second WTC final, having reached there last time and losing to New Zealand by eight wickets in Southampton.
The squad, led by opening batter Rohit Sharma, has a handful of talking points. Most of all, it will be interesting to note what their playing eleven will be, given the vast change in conditions from the last time they played against Australia.
We take a look at India’s best possible playing XI against Australia in the WTC final:
1) Rohit Sharma (c)
Rohit Sharma had a decent series against Australia at home in February-March; however his form tapered off after the match-winning century in the opening Test in Nagpur. However, he will surely open the batting at The Oval.
Despite not having an extraordinary record in Tests in England, the veteran can take confidence from his hundred at the venue against the hosts two years ago. The right-hander’s hundred in the second innings at The Oval helped India wrap up a famous victory over England. It will also be the right-hander’s first overseas Test as captain.
2) Shubman Gill:
Shubman Gill has done exceptionally well in limited-overs cricket, scoring heavily against Sri Lanka and New Zealand. The 23-year-old returned for the final two Tests against Australia and scored 128 in Ahmedabad.
However, the youngster would be under pressure, given he is vulnerable to the moving ball. Mitchell Starc, who dismissed him twice during the subsequent ODI series, would look to have his number once more in the final.
3) Cheteshwar Pujara:
Cheteshwar Pujara is arguably the rock that holds the Indian batting line-up together and has done that for quite some time. The Saurashtra batter averages over 50 against Australia and is known to frustrate their bowlers consistently.
He has geared up well for the marquee fixture, hitting a century for Sussex against Durham in county cricket. However, he is due for a big score in Tests after failing to get one in the Test series against Australia.
4) Virat Kohli
Virat Kohli has batted for number four for a long time and will continue to do so, having achieved plenty of success. After an ordinary performance in the previous WTC final, Kohli will want to make amends this time around.
The 33-year-old will take confidence from his 186 against Australia in Ahmedabad and will be one of the most prized wickets with them as he can quickly take the game away from the opposition. Nevertheless, the Delhi-born batter has been vulnerable against the moving ball and the Australians will be keen to take advantage of that.
5) Ajinkya Rahane:
Ajinkya Rahane’s return to the Test squad has perhaps been the biggest talking point as he is in line to play for India for the first time since January 2022. The 34-year-old has made a comeback on the back of his spectacular performances for the Chennai Super Kings in IPL 2023.
With Shreyas Iyer ruled out of the fixture, the right-hander is likely a lock in the eleven. His experience of the English conditions would be highly beneficial for Team India. The veteran cricketer is also a highly skilled slip fielder in the slip cordon.
6) KS Bharat (wk):
With Rishabh Pant still out of action, the selectors had no choice but to stick with KS Bharat behind the stumps. While Bharat was decent behind the stumps against Australia, he failed to make an impact with the bat. His high score of 44 came in the final Test in Ahmedabad.
7) Ravindra Jadeja:
Ravindra Jadeja has been first-choice all-rounder for India for a long time in overseas Tests. Jadeja has batted decently in England, managing a hundred and three fifties in 11 matches.
While the left-arm spinner doesn’t have an incredible record with the ball in England, he bowls dry and hardly gives any free runs. He can be a handful if India gets the chance to exploit the pitch in the fourth innings.
8) Shardul Thakur:
Due to the final taking place in England, the selection committee has chosen an extra pacer in Shardul Thakur. The 31-year-old played an integral role in India’s 2-2 result in the Test series in England.
Thakur was especially sensational in The Oval Test against England, making 57 and 60 alongside three wickets. Hence, he would be a handful in England, especially with his subtle and clever variations.
9) Mohammed Shami:
Mohammed Shami is undisputably one of the best new-ball bowlers today and has a penchant of taking wickets one after the other. However, the right-arm seamer will be keen to improve his record, given he averages 40.53 in 13 Tests with 38 scalps.
Shami will also be eager to exploit David Warner’s weakness after the left-handed batter became a victim twice during the Test series in India.
10) Umesh Yadav
Umesh Yadav will likely get the nod ahead of Jaydev Unadkat as the latter hasn’t played a Test in England yet. In two Tests in England, the Vidharba seamer has nine scalps at 23.56 and is capable of generating reverse swing with the old cherry. Overall, Umesh has 168 scalps in 56 Tests at 29.80.
11) Mohammed Siraj:
Mohammed Siraj is likely to share the new ball with Mohammed Shami in the WTC final. The 28-year-old is one of the most incisive seamers in Test cricket today. In five Tests in England, Siraj has picked up 18 scalps at 33 and would be keen to make an impact after the previous WTC final.
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