ICC World Test Championship 2023 Final Preview
For the forthcoming ICC World Test Championship final at The Oval, Australia and India have selected their respective 15-player teams. The final rosters for both sides were submitted to the ICC on Sunday, with Australia reducing its initial 17-player squad by two to the final 15 players that will face India in south London starting on June 7.
After being included in Australia's confirmed 15-player lineup, veteran seamer Josh Hazlewood is still a candidate to face India. According to rumours, Hazlewood may be replaced by Michael Neser as he races to be fully fit for the start of the game at The Oval on June 7 after dealing with side pain during the Indian Premier League (IPL).
The ICC technical committee must approve if Australia must alter its 15-player team due to an injury or other circumstances. All-rounder Mitchell Marsh and Matt Renshaw are among Australia's backup players. Australians living in the UK, Neser and Sean Abbott, will also assist the squad in its preparations when it arrives in London in early June.
The final squad includes backup custodian Josh Inglis and Nathan Lyon's successor Todd Murphy. However, uncapped teenager Yashasvi Jaiswal receives a late call-up as a standby player because of his outstanding recent performances in the IPL. India, meantime, has kept the 15-member roster they named following KL Rahul's withdrawal due to injury.
Jaiswal was in fine form for the Rajasthan Royals, accumulating 625 runs from 14 matches at a strike rate 163.61. He will replace Ruturaj Gaikwad as one of three standby players for India, with the left-hander already holding a visa for England and able to fly to London immediately.
He joins fellow white-ball star Suryakumar Yadav and uncapped seamer Mukesh Kumar as the standby options for India, with the trio joining the squad of 15 in London in the coming days as both sides prepare for the eagerly-awaited contest.
Pat Cummins (c), Scott Boland, Alex Carey (wk), Cameron Green, Marcus Harris, Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head, Josh Inglis (wk), Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Nathan Lyon, Todd Murphy, Steve Smith (VC), Mitchell Starc, David Warner
Standby players: Mitch Marsh, Matthew Renshaw
Rohit Sharma (c), Shubman Gill, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane, KS Bharat (wk), Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Axar Patel, Shardul Thakur, Mohd. Shami, Mohd. Siraj, Umesh Yadav, Jaydev Unadkat, Ishan Kishan (wk)
Standby players: Yashasvi Jaiswal, Mukesh Kumar, Suryakumar Yadav
Predicted Playing XI for Both the Teams
Ricky Ponting has backed Michael Neser's inclusion in the Australian team for the ICC World Test Championship final. Still, he plans to use a different pacer against India in the decisive match.
If Josh Hazlewood is injured, Australia legend Ponting anticipates that late-blooming quick Scott Boland will be selected for the starting XI for the ICC World Test Championship final, which begins on June 7 at the Oval.
Since making an impressive debut against England at the MCG in 2021, the 34-year-old Boland has taken 28 wickets in seven Test matches. He currently projects as a vital weapon for Australia against India in the WTC final.
During a successful campaign in the County Championship that resulted in 19 wickets and 311 runs in five matches, the 33-year-old Neser has pushed his claims for a berth in the WTC final team.
Neser has only appeared in two Test matches for Australia; both played at the Adelaide Oval in 2021 and 2022. Nevertheless, Neser may receive a last-minute call-up to the WTC final squad as Hazlewood (side) and Marsh (adductor) are near injury recovery.
Predicted Australia XI (if Hazlewood is unfit)
Usman Khawaja, David Warner, Marnus Labuschagne, Steve Smith, Travis Head, Cameron Green, Alex Carey, Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins (c), Nathan Lyon, Scott Boland
India has a strong pool of fast bowlers, and they might still field three of them despite several ailments hampering their preparation.
Shardul Thakur, who is renowned for providing help in the batting department, might join Mohammed Siraj and Mohammad Shami. This would make a formidable trio, especially in the absence of Jasprit Bumrah and left-armer Umesh Yadav due to injury.
Missing KL Rahul through injury, the side will likely deploy Shubman Gill to open with Rohit Sharma. Cheteshwar Pujara and Virat Kohli will walk out at No.3 and No.4, respectively, while the door has opened for Ajinkya Rahane to make a return to a No.5 spot. Ishan Kishan bringing the X factor to the side in the absence of Rishabh Pant in the lower end of the batting order.
Predicted India Playing XI
Rohit Sharma (c), Shubman Gill, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane, Ravindra Jadeja, Ishan Kishan (wk), Shardul Thakur, Ravichandran Ashwin, Mohammad Shami, Mohammed Siraj
12th Man: Umesh Yadav