The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) announced Team India’s squad for the World Test Championship (WTC) final against Australia. The WTC final between India and Australia will be played from June 7 – 11 this year at the Oval in England. A few players missed out while a couple of players have been recalled to the side as team India looks to win the WTC trophy in the 2023 edition, bowing out to New Zealand in the 2021 edition.
Rohit Sharma will continue to lead the Indian team, while the selection committee has not named a vice-captain for the finale. The announced squad sees the return of Ajinkya Rahane and former vice-captain KL Rahul. Rahane’s return left many cricketing experts surprised since it was about 15 months ago when the senior batter featured in the national team.
But Rahane’s current IPL form and his performances in domestic cricket are the two main factors that contributed to his return. The right-handed batter has been in stellar form in this IPL, scoring 209 runs in five innings for CSK at a staggering strike rate of 200. Rahane also scored 634 at an average of 57 in the Ranji Trophy. The other major reason for Rahane’s inclusion is the absence of middle-order batter Shreyas Iyer and wicketkeeper-batter Rishabh Pant as both were ruled out due to injuries. There was no place for Suryaumar Yadav and Ishan Kishan as the selectors have not get enough confidence in them.
KL Rahul who regained his place is unlikely to be considered as an opener. He instead will keep the wickets and bat in the middle-order as designated keeper-batter KS Bharat may not find his spot in the playing XI due to his poor form with the bat. Shubman Gill is set to open the innings with Rohit. Cheteshwar Pujara will play at the No.3 position while Star batter Virat Kohli will bat at No.4.
Star pacer Jasprit Bumrah has been ruled out due to a back injury. In his absence, India’s pace attack will be led by Mohammed Shami and Mohammed Siraj. There will be a battle for the third seamer between Umesh Yadav and Jaydev Unadkat. The spin-bowling all-rounders Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin, and Axar Patel have held on to their places in the squad.
But in English conditions, the ball is expected to swing well so the team management could opt for Shardul Thakur as the fourth pacer, which will mean only one among the three spinners will play in the final.