World number 1 in Tests, Team India, will lock horns with Kane Williamson's New Zealand in the final of the inaugural edition of World Test Championship, starting June 18. Both the captains will have their eyes on the trophy which will declare the winner as the champion of the longest format of the game.
BCCI is expected to announce the squad for the much-awaited Test championship final in next 48 hours. Meanwhile, we will be listing what could be the probable 15-member squad for the Virat Kohli-led side against the mighty New Zealand at Southampton on third week of June.
Let's have a look at the probable squad
1. Rohit Sharma
It’s a no brainer to have Rohit Sharma as the opener, the highest run scorer in England Test series. The opening slot has done wonders for the Hitman in the red-ball cricket and he will be eager to perform in the final as well. Although Rohit has played in only one occasion in the longest format in England, but his form will be vital in WTC final for the Indian team.
2. Shubhman Gill
The Punjab batsman has started well in the Test cricket and is likely to pair up with hitman as an opener. The right-handed batsman has also managed to impress in the England series with a fine half-century and a knock of 91.
3. Cheteshwar Pujara
The new wall of Team India will be a key member in the Test squad. Pujara will be looking to help the team in conquering the WTC final. His impressive record of 749 runs in 9 matches against the Kiwis will be crucial at Southampton to face the lethal attacking pacers of New Zealand.
4. Virat Kohli
All eyes will be on captain Kohli as he will try to avenge the 2-0 defeat he tasted last year against Kane Williamson's side. He knows how to exploit the demanding situations of the game and the man of big occasions will try to excel in Southampton to clinch the championship.
5. Rishabh Pant
The wicketkeeper-batsman, who thrashed the lethal bowling attack of Australia in the famous Test win at the Gabba, will try to improve his recently gained 6th spot in ICC Test Rankings. The southpaw was the highest run scorer (274) in the series against Australia with a daunting average of over 68. Apart from contributing with the bat, the 23-year-old has improved a lot behind the stumps and will be tempting to watch in WTC final.
6. Ajinkya Rahane
Kohi’s deputy Ajinkya Rahane led the side brilliantly in the absence of Kohli to win the series against Australia. Apart from leadership, the 32-year-old has performed stupendously with the bat, adding 1095 runs in 28 innings during the 2019-21 WTC cycle. The consistency of Rahane will be crucial in the finale.
7. Hanuma Vihari
The middle-order batsman played a crucial knock at Sydney. He is currently in England playing County cricket which will come handy as he will be aware of the pitch conditions.
Jadeja is regarded as the best three-dimensional player in world cricket. The southpaw adds everything on the field with the same energy. His flexibility in batting and his quick bowling speed will add depth in the squad.
9. Ravichandran Ashwin
The veteran right-arm off-break will be an obvious pick in the squad. Having already taken over 400 Test wickets, Ashwin was Player of the Series in the Tests against England. His 106 (148) in the second Test has also proved his batting ability which will be a big plus for the Indian team.
Although Sundar was overshadow with the likes of Ashwin and Axar Patel taking charge of the bowling unit, his unbeaten 85 in Brisbane against Australia was quite impressive. The left-handed batsman and right-arm off spinner might be a consideration for the team.
10. Ishant Sharma
The right-arm fast-medium pacer was ruled out of entire Australia series due to injury. But he has shown glimpses of return recently. The 32-year-old will lead the Indian pace attack and will play an important role in the bowling department in WTC final.
11. Jasprit Bumrah
The unorthodox right-arm speedster has been the dependable for Team India with his decisive bowling ability. He will be the key bowler for Kohli & Co. as he has the wicket-taking ability and can provide the breakthrough at any moment of the game.
12. Mohammed Shami
Shami is another bowler the team will look for when in need. He has just recovered from a broken hand that he suffered during the first Test against Australia at Adelaide. However, his current stint for Punjab Kings proved that he is fit and ready to attack in Southampton.
13. Mohammed Siraj
Siraj was the leading wicket-taker for India in their 2-1 Test win over Australia. With an uncanny ability to pick wickets, he can change the momentum of the match. However, it will be a difficult pick for the management with the availability of bowlers that the team possess at current. But he may prove handy in case any frontline bowler picks any injury.
14. Axar Patel
The Baroda left-arm spinner had a dream Test debut against England. In mere 3 matches, he picked up 27 wickets, which included 4 fifers and one 10-wicket haul. He is most likely to be included in the squad and will be direct competitor to Ravindra Jadeja.
15. Prasidh Krishna
Speculations have been rife that selectors might pick Prasidh Krishna in the 22-23 members squad. The 25-year-old will be an interesting pick for the team with his ability to continuously bowl with a daunting speed of 140 kmph plus.