The Men-in-Blue have made a single change in their Playing XI and have included the third spinner in Axar Patel in place of seamer Shardul Thakur.
Team India is preparing for the crucial World Test Championship (WTC) final against Australia, aiming to end their drought of ICC titles, which has persisted since their victory in the 2013 Champions Trophy in England. While most of the players are in good form, the absence of a few key individuals, notably Rishabh Pant and Jasprit Bumrah, could impact the team’s balance, considering their significant contributions to India’s Test success in recent years.
The squad for the final displayed a few changes from the team that faced Australia in the four-match series.
Which players are in
The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) surprised everyone with the inclusion of former vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane, who made a comeback after more than a year, having last played in the South Africa series in January 2022. Rahane’s impressive performances in the Ranji Trophy, where he scored 634 runs in 7 matches, and a successful IPL season for the Chennai Super Kings paved the way for his return. Another addition to the squad was the pace-bowling all-rounder Shardul Thakur, who missed the Australia series due to his wedding. Initially dropped from the WTC final squad, Ishan Kishan was reinstated as the backup wicket-keeper following KL Rahul’s injury.
Who have been excluded
Two players, Kuldeep Yadav and Suryakumar Yadav, automatically missed out on the final squad as the Australia series squad comprised 17 players, while the WTC final squad had only 15 spots. Although Suryakumar was later included as a reserve player, he did not make it to the original 15. With Ravindra Jadeja, R Ashwin, and Axar Patel already in the squad, there was no room for an additional spinner, especially in English conditions. Shreyas Iyer, who suffered a back injury during the fourth Test in Ahmedabad, was excluded as he underwent surgery. Additionally, Rahul, who experienced a hamstring injury during the IPL, was ruled out, while Kishan took his place.
Initially, Ruturaj Gaikwad was included as one of the three standby players, along with Surya and pacer Mukesh Kumar. However, Gaikwad had to withdraw from the squad due to his wedding commitments. As a result, Yashasvi Jaiswal was brought in as a replacement reserve player.