WTC Final | Ajinkya Rahane and Shardul Thakur return to Indian contingent for Australian challenge
Ajinkya Rahane has scored 4,932 runs in 82 Tests for India|
The BCCI named a 15-player list on Tuesday to take on Australia in the hopes of securing a maiden World Test Championship Mace in June. Ajinkya Rahane stole all headlines with a return to the squad after a year's absence while Shardul Thakur was included keeping the expected conditions in mind.
India would be travelling with 15 players to take on rivals Australia in the second World Test Championship final slated to begin at The Oval on June 7, the Board of Control for Cricket in India announced on Tuesday. Rohit Sharma would lead a side including the returning Ajinkya Rahane and Shardul Thakur, with no deputy named for the one-off clash. The Men in Blue contingent remained without three experienced campaigners in Jasprit Bumrah, Shreyas Iyer and Rishabh Pant. While the former two continue to recover from back injuries, Pant has been sidelined for the long term owing to injuries sustained in a car accident earlier in the year.
Rahane last featured for India against South Africa in January last year but scores of 1 and 9 effectively ended his long stay in Test cricket that had included captaining the side to a series win in Australia. However, the batter has since redeemed himself with a stellar Ranji Trophy campaign for Mumbai, scoring 634 runs in seven matches at an average of 57.63 before setting the Indian Premier League alight in a new avatar for the Chennai Super Kings. Rahane's inclusion came at the cost of Suryakumar Yadav who was with the team for the recent Border Gavaskar Trophy but only managed eight runs in his sole Test innings.
In the bowling department, the BCCI named the team's primary spin-trio of Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja and Axar Patel while Kuldeep Yadav missed out given only one of them is expected to make it to the final XI. Saurashtra skipper Jaydev Unadkat retained his place in the contingent and would battle with Mohammed Siraj, Mohammed Shami and Umesh Yadav for a place in the lineup. Keeping the seam-friendly conditions in England in mind, Shardul Thakur made a comeback to the Test squad as well, his last all-whites showing coming in the same country in July 2022.
India squad for WTC Final: Rohit Sharma (C), Shubman Gill, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane, KL Rahul, KS Bharat (WK), Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Axar Patel, Shardul Thakur, Mohammed Shami, Mohammed Siraj, Umesh Yadav, Jaydev Unadkat