Many cricket pundits will concur that India unofficially secured the berth in the Finals of the World Test Championship (WTC) to be played against New Zealand after Rishabh Pant’s heroics with the bat on the 2nd day of the 4th test match against England. It took Indians only a couple of more sessions on Day 3 to officially announce their contention for the World Test Mace after thumping England with a 3-1 series win. Pant came out in the middle to take the guard when Indians were in a spot of bother.
India were reeling behind after losing quick wickets and it seemed like that India might lose the spot in the World Test Championship Finals. But Pant made a statement that it’s not yet over until he is out there in the middle. Alongside Washington Sundar, his India under-19 cadre teammate, went on to dig India out of trouble and scored a match-winning ton.
While Pant’s audacious knock came to a halt soon after he notched up his milestone, it was Sundar who took the charge to the opponents on 3rd day along with Axar Patel and batted England out of the clash. It was then just a matter of time that India will trump over the 3 lions.
After all the saga about the 2nd finalist of the WTC occupied the air since the start of the test series between India and England, it finally narrowed down to India and New Zealand who will take the centre at the Mecca of cricket, Lords Stadium. Although the ICC is planning to shift the venue from Lords to Southampton due to covid-19 protocols and safety measures, the match has been decided to take place on the 18th of June.
In the last few months of Test cricket for India, new faces have emerged and shown the potency India has on its bench. Well, there couldn’t have been a better time for India to test its bench prowess before the real Test going to take place on June 18th. With different players stepping up at different occasions in both the series against- Australia and England, they have added to the dilemma of the captain, coach and the team management to elect the final XI that will take the ground in the first-ever final of the World Test Championship.
Despite the notable performances of these players, check out the 5 players who might miss out the WTC Finals.
1) Axar Patel
Known by the sobriquet, Bapu, he had a dream debut to his Test career. No one other than him will be happier than him after his recent performances against England. He was unfortunate to miss out the first test match after being reported for an injury. After the first test fiasco, even Virat Kohli said in the press conference that it would have great if he had the likes of Axar in his team. His inclusion to the side was imminent and was named the member of the final XI for the 2nd test after being declared fit. Since then he just didn’t look back and gave back to back match-winning performances on a spree in the remaining 3 test matches.
He will indeed have a lot to talk about his debut series. Playing in front of his home crowd in Ahmedabad, the local boy got the better off Englishmen with his spin wizardry and ended up scalping a total of 27 wickets which included 4 fifers and a Man of the Match Award.
Despite his noteworthy performances, he might will have to pave way for his likewise competitor Ravindra Jadeja if India decides to go with an attack of two spinners, the primary one being Ravi Ashwin. Ravindra Jadeja has been India’s one of the premier All-Rounders and Axar might have to wait for his chance in Jadeja’s presence.