The Indian team has made drastic progress in Test cricket in the last few years, winning consistently at home and overseas. They have frequently produced players who have proved to be match-winners or tend to make sizable contributions to the team’s cause. Their squad for the World Test Championship final reflects that and there are still some notable omissions.
The 20-man squad contains several capable players, all of which have played a part in ensuring that India reaching the tournament decider. But there is a spot for eleven players only and as New Zealand all-rounder Colin de Grandhomme remarked, Virat Kohli’s men will have a challenging task in choosing the best side. Thus, it is a highly curious case.
We take a look at three players who India might not field in the World Test Championship final:
Hanuma Vihari has delivered some promising performances for the Indian team; however, he is often not considered in the first-choice XI in Test cricket. Hanuma Vihari also got the nod in the Australian tour due to Virat Kohli’s absence. The right-handed batsman currently 624 runs in 12 Tests at 32.84 with one hundred and four fifties.
Though Vihari produced an outstanding rearguard in Sydney to eke out a famous draw against Australia, the squad has other viable candidates who could take his place. The 27-year old is also yet to deliver a telling performance in the ongoing county championship for Warwickshire; hence, he is unlikely to play in the World Test Championship final. Therefore the selectors could have included him only for the Test series against England.
Axar Patel’s performances in his debut series in red-ball cricket could be hard to ignore. He delivered series-defining spells in all three home Tests against England, tilting the series entirely towards India’s favour. The left-arm spinner picked up 27 wickets at 10.59 four fifers and a solitary four-wicket haul. Patel, who is also a handy batsman down the order, made his best score of 43 in the final Test.
Nevertheless, the selectors have opted for four finger spinners apart from Axar in Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin, and Washington Sundar. At best, India is likely to field Ravindra Jadeja and Ravichandran Ashwin only. Even if the men in blue requires lower-order batsmen, Jadeja and Ashwin are more than capable of performing that role.
For all his heroics and all-round performances in India’s recent white-ball games and the fourth Test in Australia, Shardul Thakur is unlikely to feature in the final. Shardul Thakur has only played a couple of Tests; however, he has made a significant impact in those. But India’s squad already has Ishant Sharma, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Siraj, and Mohammed Shami and Thakur looks most likely to miss out.
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