Test Cricket

India vs NZ: Best Official Playing 11 for Team India and NZ for WTC Final

India vs NZ: Virat Kohli to lead India on the historic occasion as we look at the best predicted playing 11 for Team India and New Zealand for the WTC final.  

Please note: BCCI has announced the official playing XI for the WTC final, and it same as mentioned below. 

It’s finally happening! The ODI World Cup counterpart for Test Cricket, the World Test Championship final is just 3 days away. The excitement is at its peak as the sub-continent giants, Team India take on the silent killers from Pacific, New Zealand at the Southampton to conclude the historic first-ever World Test Championship. 

All cricket fans across the globe have been eagerly waiting for this historic occasion that would mark the beginning of an era for Test cricket. There’s no second thought to how Test cricket would change once the winner of the tournament is announced. It’s like how the T20 format changed after the inaugural T20 World Cup in 2007. 

For Team India, we have seen some amazing performances across the categories. Be it Rohit Sharma’s resurgence as a Test player, Pujara’s resistance, Rishabh Pant’s rise as a match-winner, Spin trio of Ashwin, Jaddu, and Axar creating havoc, or the dominance of Indian pacers; we have seen it all. 

As we head into the finals, it would be interesting to see what team combination Team India and New Zealand adopt. The England series saw the absence of key players, and with them returning, what best playing 11 combination can Team India adopt for the WTC final vs NZ? Let’s find out in this article. Before that, let’s skim through Team India’s squad for the World Test Championship final. 

WTC 2019-21 Final – Team India’s Final Squad of 15: 

Batsmen: Ajinkya Rahane, Cheteshwar Pujara, Hanuma Vihari, Rishabh Pant (WK), Rohit Sharma, Shubman Gill, Virat Kohli (C), and Wriddhiman Saha (WK)

All-rounders: Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja

Bowlers: Ishant Sharma, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami, Mohammed Siraj, and Umesh Yadav

WTC Final: Predicted Playing 11 for Team India

Openers: Rohit Sharma and Shubman Gill

Rohit Sharma should shart the World Test Championship final as the first-choice opener of the team. The man has not only been Team India’s best opener but also Team India’s best batsman in the World Test Championship. Be it dominance at home on flat wickets or difficult wickets or providing stability in Australia, Rohit has done it all. 

To partner Rohit Sharma at the top, Team India have three openers in the form of Shubman Gill, KL Rahul, and Mayank Agarwal. This is going to be a tough choice to make for the management and Virat Kohli. While Gill has been out of form for the last 4 matches, Mayank and KL haven’t played Test cricket for a good time now. But with Virat Kohli’s backing and the performance in the practice match, it looks like Shubman Gill will make the cut as the second opener. 

Middle-order: Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli (C), and Ajinkya Rahane

The middle-order should see no change in the batting-order with Cheteshwar Pujara at 3, Virat Kohli at 4, and Ajinkya Rahane at 5. While we don’t have any changes here, the form of all three batsmen; especially Cheteshwar Pujara should be a concern area for Team India.

Virat Kohli hasn’t hit a century for more than 500 days now. Rahane has been out of form since the Australia series, and Pujara has had poor returns in the WTC. But Team India need their strongest middle-order to come out all guns blazing if they have to overcome the electric pace bowling attack of New Zealand, which comprises Tim Southee, Kyle Jamieson, Trent Boult, and Neil Wagner.

Wicket-keeper: Rishabh Pant 

Rishabh Pant would go into the World Test Championship final as the trump card for Team India. His rise in Test Cricket after being dropped from the first Test match vs Australia at Adelaide has been historic. Having also improved his wicket-keeping skills since the last two series, and a century in the practice match, Rishabh Pant’s confidence would be sky-high.

Spin All-rounders: Ravindra Jadeja and Ravichandran Ashwin

The second headache for Team India would be whether to go with 2 all-rounders at 7 and 8 in the form of Ravindra Jadeja and Ravichandran Ashwin or to go with an extra batter like Hanuma Vihari at 7 with Ravichandran Ashwin at 8. Personally, the number 7 position is a tricky one, and there is no better batter than Ravindra Jadeja for that position. 

Jadeja has been brilliant as a batsman for Team India playing down the order in the World Test Championship. He has scored more than 450 runs at an average of over 60. His attacking instincts have often helped Team India to boost a good lower-order contribution. He can be a useful fifth bowler for Team India; especially against Right-handers. 

Meanwhile, Ravichandran Ashwin is 100% set to play as the leading spinner of the squad at 8. The NZ team has a lot of lefties, and there’s no better bowler in the world for lefties than Ashwin. He is also the leading wicket-taker for Team India in the WTC. Moreover, Ashwin can be a handy batsman at 8. If he can give those 20-30s, it will help Team India a lot. 

Pacers: Mohammed Shami, Ishant Sharma, and Jasprit Bumrah 

Coming to the pacers, Team India are most-likely to play their leading three pacers, Jasprit Bumrah, Ishant Sharma, and Mohammed Shami. The trio has been the first-choice pace option for Team India for the last few years in SENA countries. Needless to say, they have been excellent with their performance. 

While Siraj is a tempting name, and a potential candidate, his inexperience as compared to these 3 could go against him. However, If Team India does play a fourth pacer, which looks unlikely then Siraj should be the man for them. In that case, Team India will have to play one of Ashwin or Jadeja with Jadeja being preferred for batting. 

It would also be interesting to see how the Weather pans out for the World Test Championship final. Currently, the Weather shows showers from June 18-22, 2021. Whatever be the case, Team India should play Jadeja at 7 with Ashwin at 8 and three pacers. 

India vs NZ predicted best playing 11 for World test championship final
India vs NZ Predicted Playing 11 for World Test Championship Final // Cricaytics

India vs NZ: Best Official Playing 11 for Team India for WTC Final: 

Rohit Sharma, Shubman Gill, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli (C), Ajinkya Rahane, Rishabh Pant (WK), Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin, Mohammed Shami, Ishant Sharma & Jasprit Bumrah.

For New Zealand, Devon Conway’s stunning start to the Test series means he should play as the opener alongside Tom Latham. The middle-order should see the regular Kane Williamson, Ross Taylor, Henry Nicholls, and BJ Watling.

The important question for New Zealand would be to go with 4 pacers or 3 pacers+ 1 all-rounder. If it’s the latter then Wagner might miss out and de-Grandhomme might play. However, Jamieson’s batting returns should motivate New Zealand to play 4 pacers, which should be lethal.

India vs NZ: Best Predicted Playing 11 for New Zealand for WTC Final: 

Tom Latham, Devon Conway, Kane Williamson (C), Ross Taylor, Henry Nicholls, BJ Watling (WK), Kyle Jamieson, Ajaz Patel, Tim Southee, Neil Wagner & Trent Boult. 

Thanks for reading! What’s your predicted playing 11 for Team India for the WTC final vs NZ? Please, email your thoughts to business@cricalytics.com

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