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It’s an exciting time in world cricket, as a grand ICC world championship final is about to take place. Let’s take a look at some pressing concerns and questions in front of the management ahead of the upcoming World Test Championship finals!

BCCI announced the 20 man squad for the upcoming World Test Championship final and the upcoming test series against England in August. This squad is to stay in England to not complicate the already messed up Covid-19 situation. This means that these 20 players will be unavailable for selection for the Sri Lanka white ball series. Regardless, there has been some serious intent shown in terms of selection of the test team.

Out of these 20 men, only 11 will play the championship final, however. So this leaves an interesting question to be asked. What is India’s best 11, keeping in mind the conditions they will be up against? English requirements are preferable for swing bowling. There is no doubt on who fills the seats apart from the opening positions in terms of the batting order. But what bowlers will India pick? Let’s look at this question and more in our quest to piece together the perfect 11 for the upcoming World Test Championship final!

Probable Playing XI: Rohit Sharma, Shubhman Gill, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli (C), Ajinkya Rahane (VC), Hanuma Vihari, Rishabh Pant (WK), Ravi Ashwin, Ishant Sharma, Jasprit Bumrah, Md. Shami

Opening Slot Dilemma

Shubhman Gill has been the preferred opener in the white-ball format since he debuted in the memorable Australia series. He has, what it seems to be, replaced Mayank Agarwal as the preferred opening batsman. But if IPL form is to be considered, Shubhman appears to be in a poorer touch than the fluent Agarwal, who has been doing really well with the bat recently. Of course, forms across formats differ, but would India risk it anyway since it is only one match?

Given the past record of decisions made, India is much likely to give Shubhman Gill the position since they wouldn’t want to ruin a working formula. Rohit Sharma is sure to keep his position at the top of the order, being one of the most senior players on the side. The middle order to follow is definitely the engine room of the batting order.

Pujara, Kohli, and Rahane will definitely keep their place with Pant to follow. This line-up of batsmen is pretty assuring for Indian fans. But once the hole at the top of the order is plugged, this batting order looks more formidable and capable than the opposition.

Jadeja, Ashwin, or Both?

Ravindra Jadeja and Ravi Ashwin are two of the most essential players in the Indian dressing room. They both have been the most prominent wicket-takers for India in the past years. But the problem in England is that the pitches don’t do much for the spinners. The calibre of both Ashwin and Jadeja, not only as two of the best spinners going around but also as essential batmen down the order, makes them extremely valuable in any final 11.

But would India risk not playing 4 proper seamers and go with them both at a pitch that probably wouldn’t help them? If a choice were to be made, who would they sit out? It is an interesting choice to consider. Because the way to win a test match, especially in England, is by taking 20 wickets. Adding Jadeja would mean that India’s priority is to strengthen the batting order. If all goes well, the designated batsmen should get the job done, and the bowlers should be strengthened to improve their chances of taking the wickets.

This means that Ravi Ashwin should be the all-rounder spinner maestro of preference. India could very well play them both and still pick up all the wickets they need.

Seamers! Win us the Championship!

India is blessed with a fantastic arsenal of pace bowling. The spearhead of this pace attack has sharp skill, swing, pace, and most importantly, experience. If Md. Shami, Ishant Sharma, and Jasprit Bumrah are all fit; they will walk into the 11 without a doubt. This still leaves room for a 4th seaming option if India decide to go that way.

Based on his performance of late, Md. Siraj will undoubtedly be in contention for this role. He has been the pace attack leader for his IPL franchise RCB this season and is coming into the role of a matured test bowler. India could profit from the forces of all 4 of these combined, with the wit and cunning of Ashwin or Jadeja to assist in taking the 20 wickets which will be needed to win the championship.

Keeping all of this in mind, it’s gearing up to be a heck of a tournament. New Zealand vs India at a neutral venue at Southampton will be an edge-of-your-seat thriller. Let’s see who brings home the first World Test Championship trophy!

By Divyanshu Gupta

Writer | Cricket Enthusiast | Musician| Welcome to my mind! I relate most regular hardships with Test Cricket. The irregular ones, I write about in my Death Metal band KillKount. You're welcome to stay! @mickount

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