The World Test Championship Final between India and New Zealand is less than three weeks away. After two years of gruelling action which was played out between 9 teams, the Virat Kohli-led side and the Kiwis came out on top and will fight for the first-ever World Test Championship title.
The points system was changed mid-way through the tournament due to the Covid-19 pandemic as the test series all over the world couldn’t get completed. The Indian cricket team pulled off a stunning victory over Australia in their own backyard and then came from behind to defeat England 3-1 to book their place in the WTC final.
India has named a 20-man squad and 4 reserves for the Ultimate Test and the England tour that ensues but only 11 players will take the field in the inaugural WTC Final. Join the Bharat Army and make your Indian XI prediction for the WTC Final and get a chance to get featured on our Social Media channels, in the meantime here is the Bharat Army's Predicted Indian XI for WTC Final:
Openers- Rohit Sharma and Shubman Gill
Ever since Rohit Sharma has opened the batting for India in the longest format of the game, he has been a revelation of sorts. The flamboyant batter had already secured a legendary status for himself, in white-ball cricket. He had scored 3 double centuries in ODIs, 4 T20I centuries and 5 tons in the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 before playing as a Test opener.
But in spite of the numerous opportunities, he never made his mark in Test cricket until the India vs South Africa series in 2019. Rohit was given a chance to open the innings and he didn’t disappoint. He scored 176 in the 1st Test against South Africa and hasn’t looked back since. He is the 2nd leading run-getter for India in the World Test Championship with 1030 runs at an average of 64.
In all likelihood, Shubman Gill will be his partner at the top of the order. Earlier this year, the 2018 U-19 World Cup winner scored just a solitary half-century in the Test series against England. However, the young batter will start at Southampton as he has proved that he belongs at the highest level with an inspiring performance in the Border-Gavaskar trophy which included a couple of half-centuries, including a 91-run knock at Gabba on the final day.
Middle-order- Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane
The number 3-4-5 in the Indian Test team are certainties for several years with the experienced trio of Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane taking up the slots.
Pujara’s gritty approach has been the hallmark of his batting and his partnerships with batters with an aggressive mindset have been terrifying for the opponents. Although, he hasn’t scored a Test century in over 2 years, he still one of the most important batters for India. He will be a tough nut to crack for the Kiwis and his performances might well be one of the crucial factors in the WTC Final.
Like Pujara, the Indian captain, too, has lost his knack of breaching the 3-figure mark with his last test century coming way back in November 2019. But it is no secret that the Indian captain likes challenges and he will be itching to score against the Kiwis against whom he failed to score a half-century in the 2020 Test series in New Zealand.
Ajinkya Rahane’ consistency has been a major talking point in Indian cricket of late. He has scored the most runs for India in the tournament with 1095 runs. This includes 3 centuries, one of which came in the Boxing Day Test last year which sparked the turnaround in the Border-Gavaskar Trophy last year.
Wicket-keepers and All-rounders- Rishabh Pant, Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja
If there is one batter, who has been a vital cog and carved a niche for himself in recent times, it is Rishabh Pant. He has squashed all the doubts over his style of batting with valuable knocks in Sydney and Gabba in the Border-Gavaskar Trophy. His performances are one of the prime factors why India will be playing the final on June 18th.
There were always some questions and doubts over Ravichandran Ashwin’s bowling performances in the overseas countries. But in the past few years, he has improved significantly and with crucial spells against Australia down under. Ever since his match-saving innings in Sydney, his batting has been reliable. He scored a century against England at his home ground in Chennai and provides India with much-needed batting depth.
Ravindra Jadeja missed out on the series against England, due to the thumb injury he sustained in the series against Australia. With the bat, he has averaged 56 in the World test Championship and with his all-around potential, he might be the best bet to bat at number 7 in the World Test Championship Final.
Bowlers- Jasprit Bumrah, Ishant Sharma, Mohammad Shami
Just 3 years since his debut, Jasprit Bumrah has established himself as the spearhead of India’s bowling attack. He has bowled crucial spells in South Africa, England, New Zealand and Australia. He picked 34 wickets in just 9 matches in the WTC cycle at an average of 22. Of all the teams, Bumrah has played against, his average of 31 against New Zealand is the worst. He has a golden chance of improving it at the Hampshire Bowl and take India to victory.
Ishant Sharma’s average of 17 is the best among Indian bowlers with at least 30 wickets in the World Test Championship. The tall pacer’s inswinging deliveries will cause trouble to the Kiwi batters in the Final and the Indian skipper has a huge responsibility of using his wisely with the new ball as well as the old ball, where his reverse swinging ability will come into play.
The last spot will be a tussle between Mohammad Siraj and Mohammad Shami unless the team management opts to play only one spinner. But in our predicted XI, Shami makes the cut purely due to his experience and his staggering record of late. The speedster will be the key for India.
Predicted Indian XI for WTX Final - Rohit Sharma, Shubman Gill, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane, Rishabh Pant, Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Mohammad Shami, Jasprit Bumrah, Ishant Sharma