The India World Test Championship squad for the final against Australia is a strong one. The match is scheduled to be played from June 7 at the Kennington Oval in London.
KL Rahul, one of their prolific run-scorers, would not be a part of the game against Pat Cummins’ men due to injury. Rahul missed the second half of the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2023 due to a thigh injury. The right-hander also underwent surgery on his right thigh.
Rahul’s absence means that Shubman Gill is the most likely candidate to open the batting along with Rohit Sharma. Gill recently scored 890 runs for the Gujarat Titans (GT) in IPL 2023 and won the Orange Cap. The Fazilka-born batter will now be looking to carry the form into the red-ball format.
The India World Test Championship squad also has Ishan Kishan, who got a Test call-up after Rahul was ruled out. Kishan played some handy knocks for the Mumbai Indians (MI) in IPL 2023. However, in first-class cricket, the southpaw does not have overly great numbers.
Kishan has notched 2985 runs from 48 matches in the red-ball format at an average of 38.76 with six half-centuries and a top-score of 273. Kishan is one of the two wicketkeeping option in the India World Test Championship squad along with KS Bharat.
Rishabh Pant would have been playing at the KIA Oval, but he is not in the India Test squad 2023 due the multiple injuries he sustained in a car accident. Back in 2018, Pant scored his maiden Test hundred at the same venue against England. Pant was also one of India’s leading run-scorers in the purest format in 2023.
Rohit Sharma has happy memories of playing at the KIA Oval as his maiden overseas Test hundred came at the very venue back in 2021 against England, then captained by Joe Root. He has been a key part of the India WTC squad, having also played well in the Border-Gavaskar Trophy against Australia. With the series win at home earlier this year, India also became the No.1 Test team.
Ajinkya Rahane back in India Test squad 2023
The India World Test Championship squad also has Ajinkya Rahane, who made his comeback since being left out of the India WTC squad back in 2021 following the tour of South Africa.
Rahane played an important role in Chennai Super Kings (CSK) winning their fifth IPL title by beating GT in the final by five wickets (DLS) at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad. Rahane was also exceptional while playing for Mumbai in the Ranji Trophy.
In 11 innings from seven matches, Rahane scored 1020 runs at an average of 57.63 and a healthy strike-rate of with two hundreds and one fifty to show for his efforts. Rahane also got a top score of 204 against Hyderabad at the Bandra Kurla Complex in Mumbai.
— BCCI (@BCCI) June 1, 2023
Jaiswal as backup in India World Test Championship squad
Yashasvi Jaiswal has been picked as a backup opening batter in the India WTC squad for the final. The left-handed batter made the right noises while playing for the Rajasthan Royals (RR) in IPL 2023. Jaiswal broke a 15-year-old record of most runs scored by an uncapped batter in a single edition of the IPL. The record was held by Australia’s Shaun Marsh while playing for Punjab Kings in 2008.
Jaiswal also broke Rahul’s record of the fastest fifty in the IPL. He scored a 13-ball fifty against Nitish Rana’s Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) at the Eden Gardens. Jaiswal also has numbers to envy in first-class cricket and questions should not be raised on why he has been picked in the India World Test Championship squad.
Jaiswal has played 1845 runs in first-class cricket and has scored 1845 runs at an average of 80.21 and a strike-rate of 67.48 with nine hundreds and two half-centuries to his name. Jaiswal has a top score of 265 that he got while playing for West Zone in the Duleep Trophy final against South Zone at the SNR College Cricket Ground.
No Jasprit Bumrah in India WTC squad
India do not have Jasprit Bumrah in their squad for the match against the Aussies. Bumrah has faced issues with his back for quite some time and also did not play for MI in IPL 2023. The speedster missed the T20 World Cup 2022 as well due to the same injury.
However, there are a lot of potent fast bowlers in the India WTC squad in the form of Mohammed Shami, Umesh Yadav, Mohammed Siraj and Jaydev Unadkat.
Shami will be high on confidence after winning the Purple Cap in IPL 2023. The fast bowler picked up 28 wickets and played a crucial role in GT qualifying for the final. Siraj is also in wicket-taking form after making vital contributions for the Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB).
Kohli, Pujara key for India
While the other Indian players were busy playing in the IPL, Cheteshwar Pujara hammered runs for Sussex in the County Championship Division 2. Pujara has scored 545 runs from six matches at an average of 68.12 and a strike-rate of 64.80 with three centuries and one half-century to his name.
Pujara needs to bring forth all his experience for India to perform well in the WTC final. India also have Virat Kohli, who recently broke Chris Gayle’s record of most hundreds in the IPL. He is also one of the four batters along with Jos Buttler, Shikhar Dhawan and Shubman Gill. Kohli was also amongst the runs in India’s campaign in the BGT earlier this year.
Ravi Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja and Axar Patel are the spin-bowling all-rounders in the India WTC squad. Jadeja has grown leaps and bounds his career since 2018 and has performed in different conditions around the world. Recently, he showed nerves of steel and finished of the game for CSK in the final against GT.
Ashwin has been a wicket-taking machine for India in Test cricket, but it remains to be seen how he bowls in English conditions. Axar Patel has done well for India but might not make it to the playing XI for the WTC final.