Ravindra Jadeja and Mohammed Shami return as BCCI announces the official squad for Team India for the WTC final vs New Zealand and Test series vs England.
With IPL 2021 suspended mid-way due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Indian fans were eagerly waiting for Team India’s squad announcement for the World Test Championship final and the Test series vs England. Amidst speculation of a 30-member squad, the BCCI yesterday officially announced a 20-member squad.
The Test squad announced is supposed to play the World Test Championship final vs New Zealand first from June 18-22, 2021. This would be followed by a 5-match Test series vs England starting August 4, 2021. The 20-member squad is expected to depart for England on June 2 considering the Quarantine rules.
Analysing the squad, Team India would be led by their all-format captain, Virat Kohli with his deputy being Ajinkya Rahane. The 20-member squad has a total of 10 batsmen including 2 wicket-keepers, 4 spin bowling all-rounders, and 6 pacers. Important to note that KL Rahul And Rishabh Pant’s backup, Wriddhiman Saha’s selection is subjected to fitness clearance.
The squad sees the return of Team India’s current best all-rounder, Ravindra Jadeja, India’s first-choice pacer, Mohammed Shami, middle-order batsmen, Hanuma Vihari, and pacer Umesh Yadav. All 4 were out of the home Test series vs England due to injuries, but are now fit and roaring to go.
However, two key players that have been excluded include Hardik Pandya and Kuldeep Yadav. While Hardik is excluded for being not able to add value as a bowler due to injury concerns, Kuldeep is excluded due to poor form in International and domestic cricket. Of the two, Hardik would have been an asset had he been fit to bowl.
Shubman Gill, who is currently going through a rough patch in International as well as the recently played IPL 2021 is able to sustain his place. It is yet to be seen if Shubman plays as an opener alongside Rohit Sharma or Mayank Agarwal, who is currently in good form is preferred over him.
Meanwhile, another big name, who was expected to make it to the squad, but couldn’t is Prithvi Shaw. Of all the talks surrounding his current performance in Vijay Hazare Trophy 2021 and IPL 2021, Shaw was expected to make a return. But lack of red-ball game time made it difficult for Shaw to justify his inclusion. Another key player, who couldn’t make it, and would have been an asset in England is Bhuvneshwar Kumar.
BCCI also announced 4 standby players in the form of Abhimanyu Easwaran, Avesh Khan, Arzan Nagwaswalla, and Prasidh Krishna. While Easwaran is a solid backup opener, Arzan Nagwaswalla, Avesh Khan, and Prasidh Krishna provide solid pace backup options. These players would be used in case any of the existing squad members succumb to injuries.
So, here’s the complete squad as announced by BCCI.
WTC 2019-21 Final and England Test Series – Team India’s Squad:
Batsmen: Ajinkya Rahane, Cheteshwar Pujara, Hanuma Vihari, KL Rahul, Mayank Agarwal, Rishabh Pant (WK), Rohit Sharma, Shubman Gill, Virat Kohli (C), Wriddhiman Saha (WK)
All-rounders: Axar Patel, Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja & Washington Sundar.
Bowlers: Ishant Sharma, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami, Mohammed Siraj, Shardul Thakur, and Umesh Yadav
Standby players: Abhimanyu Easwaran, Avesh Khan, Arzan Nagwaswalla & Prasidh Krishna
Meanwhile, here’s the official squad as made by BCCI
ICYMI – A look at #TeamIndia's squad for the inaugural ICC World Test Championship (WTC) final and the five-match Test series against England. 👇
Standby players: Abhimanyu Easwaran, Prasidh Krishna, Avesh Khan, Arzan Nagwaswalla pic.twitter.com/17J050QVT3
— BCCI (@BCCI) May 7, 2021
Team India’s Schedule for WTC Final and Test Series vs England:
- WTC Final vs NZ -> June 18-22, 2021
- First Test vs England -> Aug 4-8, 2021
- Second Test vs England -> Aug 12-16, 2021
- Third Test vs England -> Aug 25-29, 2021
- Fourth Test vs England -> Sep 2-6, 2021
- Fifth Test vs England -> Sep 10-14, 2021
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