The Board of Control for Cricket in India on Friday announced a 24-member squad for the inaugural World Test Championship Final. Virat Kohli and his men will take on New Zealand in the marquee clash in Southampton’s Ageas Bowl from June 18-22.
India hold the top spot in the WTC points table while Kane Williamson and Co. are the no.1 Test team in the world. As compared to the Kiwis, India’s road to the WTC final got a bit more intense. However, they battled against all odds and secured a birth in the final.
Now that the team has made it all the way through the final, the question is, how will they line up in the WTC final against New Zealand. The Indian team management will have much tough decision to make before deciding on the final playing XI.
In the meantime, here is India predicted playing XI for World Test Championship Final:
Openers: Rohit Sharma and Shubman Gill
Though he might not have played much Test cricket in his long illustrious limited-overs career, Rohit Sharma has cemented his place in the playing XI with an impressive knock against both Australia and England.
The 34-year-old’s 161 against England in the second Test at Chennai is one of the main reasons why India will play the ICC World Test Championship Final. His partnership with Shubman Gill at the top of the order is going to be key for India.
Speaking of Gill, he pipped both Mayank Agarwal and Prithvi Shaw and cemented his place in the Indian Test team with some great knocks in the purest format of the game. His knock at the Gabba, especially, was just a highlight of his potential.
Middle-Order: Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli (C), Ajinkya Rahane and Rishabh Pant (WK)
Ability and class-wise, India have the strongest middle-order in world cricket with skipper Virat Kohli, vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane and Test specialist, Cheteshwar Pujara. The dynamic trio has plenty of experience of playing in England.
Furthermore, with the rise of wicketkeeper-batsman Rishabh Pant, India’s middle-order has found an extra boost. His ability to take bowlers to the cleaners is what makes him such a fearsome player, even in the longest format of the game.
All-Rounders: Ravindra Jadeja and Ravichandran Ashwin
Ravindra Jadeja and Ravichandran Ashwin are likely to get a nod over youngsters Axar Patel and Washington Sundar. The veteran all-rounders still have a lot of fuel left in their tanks, both with the bat and bowl.
Both Jadeja and Ashwin have improved as batsmen over the past few years or so. This makes them an integral part of India’s batting line-up, which will give New Zealand’s bowlers a run for their money.
Bowlers: Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Siraj and Ishant Sharma
Jasprit Bumrah and Ishant Sharma will hold the key to India’s success in the pace-friendly track in Southampton. The Indian team management, however, will have a hard time picking up the third pacer.
Shardul Thakur will provide some extra support to the batting line-up while Mohammed Shami and Umesh Yadav have plenty of experience on offer. But, Mohammed Siraj is likely to get a nod in the playing.