India Predicted XI for the World Test Championship Final
India is set to play against New Zealand in the upcoming ICC World Test Championship Final starting on 18th June.
Since the fixture has been set, fans around the world have been waiting to witness the inaugural WTC final between two of the biggest giants in international cricket. The final promises to be a battle between India’s resolute and dynamic batting side against arguably the most well-rounded and balanced pace attack in world cricket.
The Virat Kohli-led side has been performing at their apex quality to win five consecutive ICC mace awards and go into the match with all of their first-choice players fit and fresh after the Indian Premier League 2021 season was postponed to the September-October window.
The Kiwis are an in-form side beating England in the recently concluded two-match series with skipper Kane Williamson, Tim Southee, Trent Boult, Kyle Jamieson, Will Young, and Matt Henry missing one match each of the two as Gary Stead decided to rotate his team heavily ahead of the crucial fixture.
Like the Black Caps, Ravi Shastri’s men have great squad depth with multiple players providing match-winning performances during the course of the World Test Championship. Reserve players Mohammed Siraj, Axar Patel, Hanuma Vihari, Washington Sundar, and Shardul Thakur came to the fore in the last couple of years for the ‘Men in Blue’.
With most key players fit and available for the big finale, it would be a happy dilemma for Shastri and Kohli to agree on the best 11 players for the match with the list of possible concussion substitutes a matter of debate as well.
Here, we will look at the possible Indian XI that might step out on the Rose Bowl with a chance to script history.
Top Order: Rohit Sharma, Shubman Gill, Cheteshwar Pujara
Indian white-ball team vice-captain Rohit Sharma has enjoyed a good run in the longest format of the game scoring 1030 runs in only 17 innings at an outstanding average of 64.37 and a dominating strike rate of 64.
Along with Sharma, the 21-year old Shubman Gill is expected to open the Indian innings with Mayank Agarwal also an option to play at the top of the order. The Punjab batsman has played only 16 innings in international test cricket and will be tested by the experienced Kiwi pace attack in Southampton.
Cheteshwar Pujara has been a rock at No.3 for the ‘Men in Blue’ for the last decade and the 33-year old acts as the perfect shield for the more aggressive batsmen like Rohit, Virat Kohli, and Rishabh Pant in the team.
Middle Order: Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane, Rishabh Pant, Ravindra Jadeja
Virat Kohli has not scored a century in international cricket in the last 18 months with the Indian skipper scoring his last ton against Bangladesh in November 2019. The 32-year old would be motivated to finish his wait to win his first major ICC trophy as the captain of the nation since the 2008 ICC U-19 Cricket World Cup.
Kohli’s deputy in the test format, Ajinkya Rahane is the highest runscorer for India in the ongoing WTC cycle with 1095 runs in 28 innings. Rishabh Pant has established himself as the first-choice wicket-keeper batsman in the Indian squad after a few impressive overseas performances and a spike in the consistency behind the wicket as well.
Ravindra Jadeja is one of the best all-rounders in world cricket with 469 runs in 13 innings in the WTC at an outstanding average of 58.62. Jadeja didn’t disappoint with the ball in his hand as the left-arm bowler took 28 wickets in 19 innings.
Lower Order: Ravichandran Ashwin, Mohammed Shami, Ishant Sharma, Jasprit Bumrah
Ravichandran Ashwin is the third-highest wicket-taker in the WTC with 67 wickets in 24 innings at an average of 20.88 and contributed with the bat as well scoring 295 runs in 16 innings. The off-spinner has the joint-most five-wicket hauls in the tournament with 4 fifers to his name.
The seam trio of Mohammed Shami, Ishant Sharma, and Jasprit Bumrah has taken more than 100 wickets in total despite missing a lot of matches due to injury and rotation. Whilst Shami has 36 wickets in 18 innings, the reverse-swing specialist Sharma has 36 wickets in 20 innings with Bumrah picking up 34 wickets in 17 innings.
Umesh Yadav and Mohammed Siraj are a couple more options available to the Indian contingent and it would be a real headache to pick the trio of fast bowlers in England.