On June 18th, 2021, India and New Zealand will battle it out in the hugely awaited final of the World Test Championship (WTC). The Indian side thrashed the visiting England team 3-1 on home soil to book a spot in the final against Kane Williamson and his men.
New Zealand has won the last 6 Test matches that it has played, and will surely be a tough opponent to overcome. Also, the summit clash of the World Test Championship (WTC) will be played at Southampton in England.
India has a plethora of options at its disposal, and the biggest headache that Virat Kohli and the rest of the team management will face is selecting the playing XI for the WTC final. In this article, let us take a look at 3 selection dilemmas that the Indian side will face before choosing the team that will take on the Kiwis in the final of the WTC.
3. 2 spinners or 1 spinner?
One problem that the Indian side will definitely confront is whether they would like to play 2 spinners or go in with just a single spinner. And, if the Indian side decides to go in with a single spinner, who out of Ravindra Jadeja and Ravichandran Ashwin will take the field?
Both Ashwin and Jadeja have been assets for the Indian side. Jadeja has scored 4 fifties in his last 8 Test innings, and also took 4/62 in the last Test match that he played at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG).
On the other hand, Ravichandran Ashwin scored a century in the 2nd Test against England at the MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai. The Tamil Nadu off-spinner was also in menacing form for India with the ball in hand and took a whopping 33 wickets in the 4 Tests that he played against England at home.
So, is it the left-arm spin of Jadeja, or the right arm spin of Ashwin? Or will both of them play? What will India do?
2. Should India play Hardik Pandya?
The next question that will pop up for India is, should they play Hardik Pandya, or should India go in with a pure batsman? Essentially, this means whether Hanuma Vihari should take the field, or should Virat Kohli give Pandya a chance.
It is to be noted that Pandya last played a Test match for India way back in the year 2018. The all-rounder boasts of a decent record in Test cricket and has scored 532 runs at an average of 31.29. The right-arm medium pacer has also scalped 17 wickets with the ball in hand.
Hanuma Vihari, on the other hand, scored 23* off 161 deliveries in the 3rd Test against Australia at Sydney, and those 161 balls he consumed have now gone into Indian cricketing folklore. Vihari and Ashwin played out more than 40 overs to secure India a famous draw at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG).
So, will India go in with Pandya, or will they want a pure batsman in the side in Hanuma Vihari?
1. The Openers Dilemma
The final dilemma that India will be confronted is the ‘openers dilemma’. While Rohit Sharma is likely to start in the playing XI, India has a number of players who can partner with the ‘Hitman’ at the top of the order.
The Virat Kohli-led side can go in with Shubman Gill, who impressed in his debut series in Australia and scored 259 runs at an average of 51.80. They can even choose to give Prithvi Shaw another chance after his scintillating performance in the 2021 IPL edition and the Vijay Hazare trophy.
Shaw scored 308 runs at an average of 38.50 and a whopping strike rate of 166.49 in the 14th edition of the IPL. Even in the Vijay Hazare Trophy, Shaw was mighty impressive and scored a whopping 827 runs at an average of 165.40. India can even provide a chance to KL Rahul. The last time Rahul played a Test match in England, he scored 149 off 224 deliveries in September 2018.
India can even try out Mayank Agarwal at the top of the order as well. In the 21 innings that Agarwal has opened for India in Tests, he has scored 1005 runs at an average of 47.86. He has also scored 3 hundreds and 4 fifties opening the batting for India in the whites.
So, will it be Gill, Shaw, KL Rahul, or Mayank Agarwal? Well, one thing is certain. Kohli will surely have a few sleepless nights in deciding the final playing XI that will take the field against New Zealand in the World Test Championship (WTC) final.
Source: The source of this content is our cricket news platform Crictracker.
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