Team India will lock horns against New Zealand in the ICC World Test Championship Final 2021 slated to be played between June 18-22. The Ageas Bowl in Southampton will play host to the IND vs NZ Final in a bio-secure bubble. Both the teams finished on the top-2 spots in the World Test Championship points table, therefore, earned an opportunity to feature in the WTC final in 2021. The final between India and New Zealand marks the culmination of the inaugural ICC Test Championship played during a span of two years between 2019 and 2021.
Despite finishing as the best team in the World Test Championship 2021, India will face an uphill task in the final against New Zealand. With physical conditions being familiar to those experienced in New Zealand, Kane Williamson and co. will fancy their chances to get the better of their opponents in a marquee clash. However, the BlackCaps will be aware of India's recent away Test record, especially their famous win over Australia in January 2021.
BCCI announces India's Test Squad for WTC Final and Tour of England 2021
Post the ICC World Test Championship Final 2021, India is scheduled to feature in a five-match away Test series against England. The senior selection committee picked an 18-man India squad to face New Zealand in the World Test Championship Final 2021 and England in a five-match series in August-September. There were no major surprises in the selected squad of players. The likes of Hanum Vihari, Mohammad Shami, Ravindra Jadeja, Umesh Yadav, and Mohammad Shami, marked their return to the Test squad after missing the previous series due to injury.
Prithvi Shaw and Hardik Pandya couldn't make it to the squad while the likes of Shardul Thakur, Washington Sundar, and Axar Patel were retained for their consistent performances in the recent past. KL Rahul and Wriddhiman Saha were also named subject to fitness clearance.
India’s squad: Rohit Sharma, Shubman Gill, Mayank Agarwal, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli (Captain), Ajinkya Rahane (vice-captain), Hanuma Vihari, Rishabh Pant (wicket-keeper), R. Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Axar Patel, Washington Sundar, Jasprit Bumrah, Ishant Sharma, Mohd. Shami, Md. Siraj, Shardul Thakur, Umesh Yadav, KL Rahul (subject to fitness clearance), Wriddhiman Saha (wicket-keeper; subject to fitness clearance).
BCCI also picked players to stand by including Abhimanyu Easwaran, Prasidh Krishna, Avesh Khan, Arzan Nagwaswalla for the upcoming tour of England 2021.
While India would be hoping to get their hands on the elusive WTC 2021 trophy, picking their strongest playing XI for the WTC Final would be some challenge against a string Kiwi outfit. In the past six months, Team India has had some brilliant individual performances in Test cricket, and as a result, most of the players pick themselves in the starting playing XI.
Team India's Strongest Predicted Playing XI for the World Test Championship Final against New Zealand:
1. Openers: Rohit Sharma and Mayank Agarwal
Rohit Sharma and Mayank Agarwal are likely to start as openers in India's predicted XI against New Zealand. Despite Rohit's struggles against the moving ball, Team India would bank upon the experienced campaigner to come good in the upcoming season. Agarwal, who moved down in the pecking order behind Shubman Gill, could get a nod ahead in the playing XI considering Gill's recent failures.
2. Middle-Order: Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli (C & Wk), Ajinkya Rahane
India boasts of a very solid middle-order comprising the likes of Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli, and Ajinkya Rahane. In the absence of Kohli during the Australia series, Pujara and Rahane stood tall to take the onus of India's batting on their shoulders. The trio will be expected to do the bulk of scoring in giving the team a proper chance of going past the Kiwis.
3. Wicket-Keeper: Rishabh Pant
Rishabh Pant has emerged as an inseparable member of India's first-choice playing XI in nearly all conditions. The wicket-keeper batsman has grown in confidence ever since his heroics against Australia in India's triumph down under in 2020-21. Undoubtedly, Pant will take the No.6 spot in the batting order while donning the gloves behind the wicket.
4. Spinners: Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja
The spin duo of Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja is a formidable feature of India's strongest XI in Test cricket. Jadeja is one of the best all-rounders going around in the longest form and has played a major role in some of India's best Test victories in the recent past. On the other hand, Ravichandran Ashwin, known for his wily off-spin is on his path to becoming one of India's greatest spinners of all time. Their experience will be crucial to India's success in the ICC World Test Championship Final 2021.
5. Fast Bowlers: Ishant Sharma, Mohammad Shami, Jasprit Bumrah
India's pace battery is most likely to feature Ishant Sharma, who has had a brilliant last couple of years in Test cricket, along with Mohammad Shami and Jasprit Bumrah. Both Shami and Bumrah have been two of India's strike bowlers with the red ball. The trio has witnessed enough success as a unit in the last few years in overseas Tests for India. In the WTC Final 2021, Kohli and men would hope that the pace attack can yet again deliver in conducive conditions for pace bowling.
We have attempted to pick India's best playing XI for the WTC Final 2021 against New Zealandconsidering the expected playing conditions, players' recent run of form, and team composition for the right balance in the playing XI. You can use this predicted XI to earn cash rewards at various platforms such as Raj online betting.