The stage is set for the highly anticipated World Test Championship (WTC) Final between Australia and India, which will take place at The Oval in London on June 7. As both teams aim to claim the coveted Test mace, former cricketer and legendary Indian captain Sunil Gavaskar has shared his opinion on India’s ideal playing XI for the marquee event.
While India has named a strong squad, injuries have forced some key players to sit out. Rishabh Pant, the wicketkeeper-batsman, has been recovering from a car accident in December 2022, while Shreyas Iyer, KL Rahul, and Jasprit Bumrah are also recuperating from their respective injuries.
Gavaskar, speaking on Star Sports’ show “Follow the Blues,” revealed his preferred batting order for India in the WTC Final. He suggested Rohit Sharma and Shubman Gill as the opening pair, followed by Cheteshwar Pujara at No. 3 and Virat Kohli at No. 4. Ajinkya Rahane would take the No. 5 spot. The No. 6 position is a slight concern, and Gavaskar mentioned the options of either Srikar Bharat or Ishan Kishan. However, considering Bharat’s experience against Australia in the Border-Gavaskar Trophy, Gavaskar leans towards him for the No. 6 position.
Regarding the wicketkeeper-batter role, India is facing a dilemma in the absence of Pant and Rahul. Gavaskar believes that KS Bharat, who kept wickets during the recent Border-Gavaskar Trophy, is likely to continue in that role due to his prior experience against the Australians. Ishan Kishan, the other option, lacks experience in the longest format of the game.
Moving on to the bowling unit, Gavaskar suggests that Ravindra Jadeja would occupy the No. 7 spot. Depending on the weather conditions and pitch, Gavaskar believes that Jadeja and Ravichandran Ashwin would be crucial assets for India at No. 7 and No. 8, respectively. The bowling lineup would feature Mohammed Shami, Mohammed Siraj, and possibly Shardul Thakur at positions No. 9, 10, and 11.
Sunil Gavaskar’s Predicted India XI for the WTC Final 2023:
1. Rohit Sharma
2. Shubman Gill
3. Cheteshwar Pujara
4. Virat Kohli
5. Ajinkya Rahane
6. Srikar Bharat
7. Ravindra Jadeja
8. Ravichandran Ashwin
9. Mohammed Shami
10. Mohammed Siraj
11. Shardul Thakur