There is only about a month remaining before the World Test Championship final between India and Australia kicks off at the Lord’s, and India are struggling with several injuries. KL Rahul is the latest name in the list of players who have been sidelined from the final.
Rahul picked up a thigh injury while playing for the Lucknow Super Giants in the IPL, and was subsequently ruled out of the tournament and the WTC final as well. The BCCI took some time to name his replacement and now they have named wicketkeeper-batter Ishan Kishan to take his place in the squad.
Kishan hasn’t debuted in Test cricket yet and his red-ball credentials are also questionable at best. But he has already played 14 ODIs and 27 T20Is for India, and has an ODI double ton to his name as well. Kishan, however, was in the squad for the Test series against Australia at home just before the beginning of IPL 2023.
He will be the second wicket-keeping option in the Indian squad after KS Bharat. Rahul is now scheduled to undergo surgery, after which he will report back to the NCA to start his rehabilitation. Bharat recently debuted in Tests for India in the series against Australia in February.
Apart from Rahul, Shreyas Iyer has been ruled out of the WTC final as well, whereas pacers Jaydev Unadkat and Umesh Yadav are doubtful to feature in the squad. Unadkat, who was also playing his trade for the Lucknow Super Giants in the IPL, inured his left shoulder while bowling in the nets. Umesh, on the other hand, picked up a hamstring injury but BCCI’s medical staff is trying their best to make him fit before the match.
Ajinkya Rahane has earned a well-deserved call up after an impressive performance in the Ranji Trophy and the IPL. He is expected to slot directly in the XI in the absence of players like Rahul and Iyer.
The BCCI has also named players like Ruturaj Gaikwad, Suryakumar Yadav and Mukesh Kumar on standby. They are expected to get slotted into the squad in case any of the first-choice players get injured. Among them, only Suryakumar has played in Test matches before. He debuted against Australia in Nagpur in February.
India’s squad for the WTC final:
Rohit Sharma (capt.), Shubman Gill, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane, KS Bharat (wk), R Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Axar Patel, Shardul Thakur, Mohammed Shami, Mohammed Siraj, Umesh Yadav, Jaydev Unadkat, and Ishan Kishan (wk).