India’s Australia and England test series Heroes Who May Not Play The ICC World Test Championship Final | Siraj, Axar Patel, Washington Sundar Shardul Thakur | Akshar, Shardul and Sundar won Tests on their own in the last 7 months, but were dropped from the last-15 for the finals

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India has to play the final of the World Test Championship against New Zealand from 18 January. Team India on Tuesday announced the final-15 for the Test Championship final. In this, 3 players who led the team to victory against Australia and England are missing – Axar Patel, Shardul Thakur and Washington Sundar. At the same time, there is suspense on the place of Mohammad Siraj and Hanuma Vihari in the final-11.

The 2 Test series was very important in India’s journey to the final. This included beating Australia at home and winning the home series against England. In both these series, many new heroes like Siraj, Akshar, Shardul and Sundar emerged for India. He forced the opposition team to lose with his performance.

1. Axar Patel

Axar Patel during the day-night Test in Ahmedabad.

Axar Patel during the day-night Test in Ahmedabad.

How did you get into the squad?
Became a part of the Test team against England, as Ravindra Jadeja was injured.

How did you come to the team?
In the first Test, Axar was not able to play due to injury. He was included in the team in the second Test in Chennai.

Contribution
Akshar made a bang in Test cricket. He is being seen as a like for like replacement of Jadeja. After the defeat of Team India in the first Test, he came into the team and filled a different spirit. Akshar took 27 wickets in 3 Tests and became the highest wicket-taker in the debut series. Thanks to him, India won the series 3-1.

Chance to play in WTC Finals?
He was included in the 26-man squad, but was dropped from the last-15. It is possible to play in the final only if one of Jadeja and Ashwin remains unfit.

2. Washington Beautiful

Sundar while bowling in the Brisbane Test.

Sundar while bowling in the Brisbane Test.

How did you get into the squad?
Due to Kovid-19, only selected on the tour of Australia as part of the big squad.

How did you come to the team?
Ashwin got injured after the Sydney Test against Australia. The inclusion of Kuldeep would have strengthened India’s bowling, but there would have been a shortage of batsmen in the lower order. In such a situation, Sundar came into the team to maintain the balance. Sundar was included in the squad for the last Test against Australia in Brisbane.

Contribution
Sundar has played 4 Tests so far. In all these he has contributed well with the bat. He has 3 half-centuries to his name in 6 innings. Out of this, on 2 occasions, he saved the match with his innings. 62 runs in the debut innings at Brisbane and 96 against England in Ahmedabad saved the match. In 4 Tests, Sundar has scored runs at an average of 66.25. Apart from this, he has also done well with the ball. He has 6 wickets to his name. This includes the wickets of players like Steve Smith and Joe Root.

Chance to play in WTC Finals?
Now there is little chance. This is because Sundar’s number comes after Ashwin, Jadeja and Akshar. Only when 2 to 3 players get injured, they will get a chance in the team.

Why is Ashwin-Jadeja the automatic choice for the final?

  • Ashwin bowls brilliantly against left-handed batsmen. There are 3 left-handers in the New Zealand squad.
  • Ashwin and Jadeja are better batsmen than Axar and Sundar.
  • Jadeja is truly a perfect all-rounder. Apart from batting and bowling, his fielding is also excellent.
  • On those pitches where there is not much turn, Jadeja is quite impressive. He has taken 109 wickets in 85 matches across formats in England, Australia and New Zealand.
  • Akshar and Sundar still have to play in England.
  • Jadeja had hit a fifty in an intra squad practice match. This added to his plus point.

3. Shardul Thakur

Shardul bowling in the Brisbane Test.

Shardul bowling in the Brisbane Test.

How did you get into the squad?
Like Sundar, Shardul was also included in the squad for the Test series in Australia as a net bowler.

How did you come to the team?
With Team India’s injury list being long in Brisbane, Shardul got a chance to play.

Contribution
Shardul made good use of the opportunity in Brisbane and contributed with both bowling and batting. He took 3 wickets in Australia’s first innings. After this, a partnership of 123 runs with Sundar. Shardul played an innings of 67 runs during this period. Not only this, he took 4 more wickets in Australia’s second innings.

Chance to play in WTC Finals?
Like Sundar, their chances of playing are negligible. Prior to this, Ishant, Bumrah, Shami and Siraj have been given preference.

Team India decided to go down with 5 bowlers
It is certain that Team India will enter the final with 5 bowlers. In these, the responsibility of spin will be on the shoulders of Ashwin and Jadeja. At the same time, Jasprit Bumrah, Ishant Sharma and Mohammed Shami will be seen taking charge of the fast bowling. If another pacer is given a chance, Siraj can play. In such a situation, either Jadeja or Ashwin can be seated outside. But its chances are less.

At the same time, Rohit Sharma, Shubman Gill, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane and Rishabh Pant are set to play in the batsmen. In such a situation, Hanuma Vihari may also have to sit outside. Siraj and Hanuma are the two players who won matches on their own against Australia.

Hanuma Vihari

Hanuma Vihari during the day-night Test in Adelaide, Australia.

Hanuma Vihari during the day-night Test in Adelaide, Australia.

How did you get into the squad?
Vihari has always been a part of the Test squad. However, he has always been included in the team only on foreign tours.

How did you come to the team?
Vihari was part of Team India in the first three Tests. Couldn’t play fourth test due to injury.

Contribution
Vihari’s bat was calm before the third Test against Australia played in Sydney. But in Sydney, when India needed a batsman who would one day take India towards a draw by staying on the pitch, then Vihari’s entry came. He batted one day with Ashwin.

During this, he also had to deal with the problem of hamstrings. Despite this, they persevered. At the same time, his innings of 93 runs at North Sound and 53 not out in Kingston on the West Indies tour in 2019 helped India progress in the WTC.

Chance to play in WTC Finals?
There is very little chance. If Team India is including 5 bowlers, then Vihari will not be able to play.

Mo. Siraj

Siraj looked in good form during the Test series in Australia.

Siraj looked in good form during the Test series in Australia.

How did you get into the squad?
Ishant Sharma was injured before the Australia tour. For this reason, Mohammad Siraj was taken in the team.

How did you come to the team?
Mohammed Shami was injured in the Adelaide Test against Australia. After this Siraj got a chance to make his debut in the second Test in Melbourne.

Contribution
Siraj has taken 16 wickets in 5 matches. He took wickets at crucial junctures against 2 quality side Australia and England. In his very first Test, Siraj had trapped Marnus Labuschagne in the leg-side. At the same time, against England in Ahmedabad, Siraj dismissed Joe Root and Jonny Bairstow.

Chance to play in WTC Finals?
Difficult. Siraj is sure to get a chance if one of Ishant Sharma, Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Shami gets injured.

Why are Ishant-Shami the automatic choice for the final?

  • Ishant Sharma is the most experienced fast bowler in the current squad. He has played 102 Tests.
  • Talking about the last two tours of England, Ishant took 32 wickets in 8 Tests.
  • Shami has taken 21 wickets in 8 Tests on the tour of England in 2014 and 2018.
  • Shami’s reverse swing can become a threat to New Zealand’s batsmen.

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