On 9 July 2019, India encountered a sorrowful defeat against New Zealand and got knocked out from the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019. Indian fans were devastated as they had been dreaming about that awaited ICC Trophy. Well, they’ll have something to cheer for from 18 June 2021 as India will go against New Zealand to secure an ICC Trophy after 8 long years in World Test Championship Final. It’s the most anticipated contest as both teams have fought for this moment right from 2019.
It has been a long wait for Indian skipper, Virat Kohli, to win an ICC Trophy as a captain. There can’t be a better opportunity for him as they’ve come into this final fighting their way out after an unbelievable victory down under. As it is expected to be an exciting contest, let’s have a look at India’s probable playing XI for the World Test Championship Final.
Rohit Sharma and Shubman Gill
The openers played a crucial role in India’s vanquishment over mighty Australia. Shubman Gill scored 259 runs with a fantastic average of 51.80 in the Test series. His match-winning knock of 91 in the Gabba test helped India to secure that invaluable win. Although his performance in the Test series against England and the IPL was underwhelming, Gill is expected to open the batting in the final and prove his worth.Embed from Getty Images
On the other hand, Rohit Sharma has been in the form of his life. He scored 129 runs in 2 matches in the Test series down under. Moreover, he was the highest run-scorer for India in the home Test series against England. His marathon inning of 161 did set the platform for India to come back in the series. He’ll look forward to continuing his great form. Not to forget, it’ll be a challenge for him to score against the moving ball in England. It’ll indeed be a riveting contest between Rohit Sharma and Trent Boult as the former batted against Boult in the Mumbai Indians nets session till the start of this month.
Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane, Rishabh Pant
Pujara has undoubtedly been the man behind India’s success in Test cricket. Some might not agree with his batting approach but that’s what has helped him to excel in the format and trust me, the approach is working for him. He’ll be the key batsman for India in the most important WTC final. The team expects him to continue giving resilient performances at the 3rd position. Although it wasn’t his best series, Pujara never gave up in the Test series down under despite getting hit almost everywhere on the body by the fast bowlers. Not to forget, he was the second-highest run-scorer for India, just behind Rishabh Pant.Embed from Getty Images
Another batsman to look out for in the series is none other than Virat Kohli! The skipper came over his nightmare in 2014 by performing exceptionally well against England in 2018 wherein he scored close to 600 runs. For India to excel in the competition, the skipper has to lead from the front.
Ajinkya Rahane being the vice-captain will play at number 5. He hasn’t been in great touch in the recent past. He failed to make a mark against England scoring just 112 runs in the 4 matches he played in. Hence, he’ll look to prove his position in the knockout match. As much important as the series is to India, It’s equally important for him to perform in the toughest situation and confirm his number 5 spot ahead. Remember, he’ll have an added advantage going into the final. When India was playing in the World cup in 2019, Ajinkya Rahane was playing county cricket in England.Embed from Getty Images
As the final will be played in Southampton, Rahane will be aware of the conditions at the venue, thanks to his County stint.
Next is Rishabh Pant, well, what do I talk about Pant? You all must be knowing his current form, right? Pant was criticized a lot for his bad shot selection in the past. But then, he proved his talent down under being the highest run-scorer for India and third-highest overall (just behind Smith and Labuschagne) in the Test series. Now, he has become the X-factor in the team, someone who can change the dynamics of the game in a very short time.
Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin
Now, India has to make a decision here. It’ll depend on what the surface has on offer though. But, Southampton surface more often than not had something in it for the spinners. Hence, India might go with two spinners in Ravindra Jadeja and Ravichandran Ashwin. But in case if the conditions are not suitable to play two spinners, Shardul Thakur might replace Ashwin. Jadeja will definitely be India’s first-choice all-rounder as his all-round abilities are one of the best in the world at the moment. He’ll be coming back to the international squad after recovering from the injury which he suffered in the Australia series.Embed from Getty Images
He’ll be accompanied by the highest wicket-taker for India in the World Test Championship. Yes, Ashwin has taken 67 wickets, the next best being 36 by Ishant Sharma. He was unstoppable in the home series against England and was awarded the ‘Man of the Series’ for taking 32 wickets in the 4 matches.
Jasprit Bumrah, Ishant Sharma, Mohammed ShamiEmbed from Getty Images
The Indian pace attack is probably one of the best in the world at the moment. They’ve been performing in every given condition. A lot of credit of which has to be given to team India’s bowling coach Bharat Arun who effectively managed the workload of the bowlers. Bumrah being the X-factor of the bowling unit, managing his workload was a necessity, and that’s what Indian team management did in Australia.
Ishant Sharma after playing over 100 Test matches has that experience which comes in very handy in knockout games. His performance at Lords was one to remember for ages.
Shami’s ability to maintain the upright seam position is more than a handful in swinging conditions. The way he handles the old ball makes him lethal and New Zealand batsmen will have an eye on him.
Team India’s probable playing XI:
Rohit Sharma, Shubman Gill, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli (C), Ajinkya Rahane, Rishab Pant (WK), Ravindra Jadeja, Ravi Ashwin, Ishant Sharma, Mohd. Shami and Jasprit Bumrah.
Do let us know your thoughts on this playing XI.
I’m an undergraduate student and I’ve been writing Cricket articles on Quora for a while and recently I crossed 1 Million content views on my articles on Quora. It’s my passion to express my love towards the game.