Now Team India will concentrate on their maiden Test championship final after the suspension of the IPL 2021 season. India will lock horns against a quality team like New Zealand in that one-off test match in England.
The suspension of this year’s IPL might prove as a blessing in disguise for the Indian Team members because they can concentrate and train for the WTC Final now and they will be mentally fresh for that important event.
In the past, India had a phenomenal run in the longest format of the game. Team India won the Test series Down Under, and that series win in Australia will remain as historic for years to come.
After being bowled out for the lowest ever score in Test match cricket, India bounced back well to win the Melbourne and Brisbane Test matches. With that, they had a hard-fought draw in Sydney.
Then in the home series against England, India again started as the losing side. But once the track spun, Kohli and co were the Test series winners by a 3-1 margin. India won the 2nd Test match by a mammoth margin, and the test matches in Shri Narendra Modi Stadium lasted only for five days.
The Pink Ball Test match was over in just two days, and the last red-ball Test match was over in just three days. With those two hefty wins, India also qualified for the World Test Championship final.
India will play against New Zealand and conditions in England will suit the Kiwis more than India. Blackcaps have a quality seam attack; Boult, Southee, Jamison, and Neesham will thrive in England’s swing and seam conditions.
The final of the WTC – World Test championship is from 18th June 2021 to 22nd June 2021, and 23rd June 2021 is the reserve day for this all-important final. The venue will be the Ageas Bowl in Southampton.
India Playing XI for the WTC – World Test Championship Final
India still needs to pounder a lot of questions before leaving England for that final. India is strong in home conditions. But they have been a poor traveling team whenever they have visited England in the recent past.
India has quality batsmen like Kohli, Pujara, Rahane, Pant, and Saha. But when India travels overseas, there is a lot more pressure on captain Virat Kohli. The bowling looks good with Bhuvi, Bumrah, Ishant, and Shami with the spinning all-rounders like Ashwin, Jadeja, Sundar, and Axar Patel.
But it is the batting that needs more attention in those seam and swing conditions of England. India’s batting has been a master class in Australia. But whenever there is swing and seam, India’s batsmen turn wobbly, and that may also remind them about the 36 all out in the Pink Ball Test against Australia at Adelaide.
The Kiwis have the bowlers, which could trouble India, and why choosing a correct playing XI will play an essential role in this most crucial match. Team India has no Test matches before they play in the WTC Final and in comparison, the Kiwis will play a two-test match series against England before the final.
The Openers will hold the key again for India in that one-off Test match.
Rohit Sharma was fabulous as he always is in the home conditions. But he needs to be one step ahead in the conditions which will be different from the home. Hit Man hasn’t opened the innings in Test matches in England.
But he has the capacity and talent to tackle those alien conditions. Rohit did a decent job in Australia. He helped India get those starts, but here in Southampton, he needs to get those big runs to take India through to the Test championship title.
Submit Gill will be tested hugely in England. On his first tour to the nation, Gill will have to adjust to the pace and bounce. Gill’s adaptation to the wicket will hold the key. He will have to come up with the problems of incoming deliveries. Gill will be the preferred opener for India in that final.
He started his career well in Australia, and he will look to come up with another impressive performance in the WTC Final. Gill is also looking to score his maiden Test hundred, and if he achieves that in the final, then that would cement his place in India’s Test side for the Test tour of England. India will play a series of five Test matches in England later this year.
Chesteshwar Pujara – He has been India’s Wall in Test matches at number 3 position. He can tire the opposition bowlers, and India needs that technique and temperament to tackle the Kiwi bowlers. Pujara was instrumental in India’s most fantastic wins on Australian soil.
Now in the WTC Final, India will their Test specialist to deliver. In England conditions, Pujara will be a vital member to negotiate the swing and seam. He has scored 500 runs with one century and two fifties. He has an average of 29.41 in England.
Against the Kiwis, Pujara has a good record. He has scored 749 runs with two centuries and four half-centuries. His average against the Blackcaps is also a decent one. He averages 46.81 in the nine Test matches played so far.
Virat Kohli – The Indian Skipper will be under pressure right from the ball one in the final. Kohli hasn’t scored a century from 2019. Kohli will also look to end the century drought by scoring a ton in the final.
In the last tour of England, Kohli was the most successful batsman for the Indian Team. He had successfully put the demons of the 2014 tour behind. India will want a similar show from the Captain in the Final and the Test series against England. Kohli is just one match away from winning an ICC title.
Ajinkya Rahane – India’s Test vice-captain is an asset in the Team of the longest format. He also led the side well in Australia in the absence of serval stars which included Kohli. But his batting performance hasn’t great of late. He has been getting starts, and he hasn’t converted them into a big one.
Rahane is expected to play a knock as he did in MCG. He also played a handy knock in the second Test match at Chennai, which allowed India to win that Test match. Rahane has scored just three tons and fifties since 2019. India is just one step away from clinching the Test title, and that’s why Rahane’s form is vital for India’s chances.
Rishabh Pant will be the first-choice keeper-batsman for the WTC Final. He can make it to the playing XI after his excellent show with the bat and behind the stumps. Despite Saha being the first choice keeper-batsman, Pant has made his way with centuries in England and Australia.
Pant was also instrumental in the series win Down Under and at home against England. Pant has been in great form, and India will want him to deliver in a vital match like the World Test Championship final.
Ravichandran Ashwin – Ashwin was criticized as a home track bully. But his performances on the tours of Australia might have silenced his critics. Ashwin kept on getting Steve Smith on the recent tour Down Under, and he will have to deliver that kind of bowling performance once again in the final as The Kiwis also have batting greats in their team.
As a pure all-rounder, Ashwin also needs to perform with the bat just like he did in the second Test match at Chennai. He will be a crucial asset for India as an all-rounder, and he can add depth to India’s batting. Ashwin has the experience to extract the spin from the seam and swing pitch of Ages Bowl as he is a quality off-spinner.
Ravindra Jadeja – Jaddu has had a phenomenal run in Test matches. He has been the one to bail out India from a tricky position. But recently, he hasn’t been a part of the Test series after the SCG Test match.
Jadeja missed the four-match series against England at home, and he was out of the T20I series. In the IPL Jadeja made a good comeback. He is fully fit for the WTC Final. His all-around talent will come in handy for India to put the pressure back on the Kiwis. He will be directly selected in the playing XI of India for that final.
Mohammad Shami – Shami has been India’s vital red ball bowler. He has been in decent nick in Australia he got injured in the first Test match at Adelaide. Now Shami has recovered and he played the IPL 2021 season for Punjab Kings. So a full-fit Shami will be lethal for India in the WTC Final.
Ishant Sharma- Ishant has the experience of bowling in England conditions. His performance at Lords has been remembered as one of the great spells, and Virat will want a similar performance from him.
Ishant’s height will also be an advantage as the tall fast bowler can extract swing from the Southampton pitch. Ishant is a vastly experienced fast bowler as he is just the second fast bowler to play 100 Test matches for the country and he also picked up 300 Test wickets recently.
Jasprit Bumrah – Boom Boom Bumrah will be the last man for India in the Test squad for the World Test Championship final. Bumrah has been a vital member of India in all three formats. The WTC Final can go the Kiwis way if they play Bumrah well.
On the last tour of England in 2018, Jasprit made England bat out of their skins, and he also picked up a five-wicket haul, which was the first tour for Bumrah. India couldn’t win the series then, but now Bumrah will want his Team to lift the Test championship trophy. He can pick up wickets against the run of play, and he can make the Kiwi batters dance on his tunes.