After years in motion, the inaugural World Test Championship final awaits. The top two teams in the league table that meets in the finals will be India and New Zealand. And on Friday, the All India senior selection committee named a 20 man Indian squad for the ICC WTC final and the five test match series against England.
The WTC final is set to be played from June 18 to 22 in Southampton which will be followed by the Test series against England from August 4, starting in Nottingham.
Rohit Sharma, Shubman Gill, Mayank Agarwal, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli (Captain), Ajinkya Rahane (vice-captain), Hanuma Vihari, KL Rahul
Much of the batting personnel from the squads that won the test series against England and Australia are retained. Virat Kohli and co are expected to leave by June 2, while Hanuma Vihari is already getting used to the conditions in England plying his trade for Warwickshire in County Cricket. KL Rahul’s fate is also subject to his fitness clearance as he had to leave IPL halfway due to surgery.
R. Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Axar Patel, Washington Sundar
Axar Patel has shown tremendous form making his debut against England in India’s last Test series. Brought in as a bowling all-rounder, the Indian all-rounder clearly shined with the ball, bowling in tandem with Ravichandran Ashwin who is one of India’s leading wicket-taking bowlers. Also capable with bat, as his heroics was for all to see in the last Test series.
The management will be delighted with the return of Ravindra Jadeja who got injured in the Test series against Australia but has an able backup in Washington Sundar.
Jasprit Bumrah, Ishant Sharma, Mohd. Shami, Md. Siraj, Shardul Thakur, Umesh Yadav
The selectors and fans alike will be delighted to see their pace attack back in full health, as the Indian team pace department was riddled with injuries. But the loss of some presented opportunities for others as India has found unlikely heroes in Mohammed Siraj and Shardul Thakur who played frontline roles in India’s famous victory in Australia. But with wickets in England being more pace-friendly, having the big guns will be a welcome sight.
Rishabh Pant, Wriddhiman Saha (wicket-keeper; subject to fitness clearance).
Rishabh Pant has shot into the spotlight after multiple failures and has made good of the faith shown in him by the management. Developing into a counter-attacking weapon, a game is never lost even in dire circumstances when the young Indian keeper-batsman is around. Being the catalyst for prominent victories against Australia and England, a lot will be expected of this young batsman.
Wriddhiman Saha awaits to prove his medical fitness as he was tested positive for covid-19 being in the biosecure bubble in the Indian Premier League. With time on his side, everyone expects a speedy recovery and is fit for the upcoming games.
Players who missed out
Some notable names to miss out on are Hardik Pandya and Kuldeep Yadav. While some doubts remained on Indian all-rounder Pandya as he had not bowled a lot in recent times, however, a nine-over spell in the last ODI against England was encouraging signs. But a shoulder niggle during IPL meant he refrained from bowling.
Another curious case is that of Kuldeep Yadav, who had been part of Test squads but not have got much game time. Shikhar Dhawan will also feel gutted not to make the squad as he was in pristine form as shown in the white ball tournaments against England and the IPL.
In this pandemic-stricken time, the management is taking precautions and preparing contingency plans as they are traveling with four extra players as standby. Prasidh Krishna, Avesh Khan, Abhimanyu Easwaran, and Arzan Nagwaswalla are the players in this list and all have been awarded for their spectacular performances in the domestic circuit.
With the Kiwis playing the English before the all-awaited finals, the Indians have two intra-squad practice matches set in July. With everything set to play for the management will be hoping the squad can bring out their best to bring the title home.
Let us know your comments on your thoughts about the squad named and who shouldn't have missed out.