Test Championship Final : Team India defeated England by an innings and 25 runs in the fourth and final Test match in Ahmedabad to register a spectacular 3-1 series win. With this victory, India have also qualified for the final of the ICC World Test Championship (WTC), where they will face New Zealand starting from June 18. However, there is still no clarity regarding the venue for the WTC finals but if the recent reports are to be believed, the grand finale of the Test Championship will take place in Southampton.
The Home of Cricket- Lord’s Cricket Ground in London was supposed to be the venue for the WTC final, however, due to the coronavirus pandemic situation, Southampton has emerged as the potential venue. During a recent exclusive interview, BCCI President Sourav Ganguly also clarified that the final will take place in Southampton because of a five star hotel attached to the stadium.
India’s Playing 11
India are likely to make a lot of changes to their side for the important WTC final against New Zealand as compared to the side which played the last Test against England at home. Shubman Gill will make way for Mayank Agarwal after the former struggled to score much of runs in the home series. Thus, Aggarwal will open the batting alongside the in-form Rohit Sharma with Cheteshwar Pujara, captain Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane and Rishabh Pant in the middle-order.
The Indian team management will have to take the big call with regards to the selection of Hardik Pandya or Ravindra Jadeja for the all-rounder slot and a lot will depend on the conditions and fitness of the players. Pandya is likely to get the nod as a seam-bowling all-rounder will be helpful in the English conditions. Ravichandran Ashwin will be India’s premier spinner with Ishant Sharma, Mohammed Shami and Jasprit Bumrah as the three fast bowlers.
India Playing 11 (likely): Virat Kohli (C), Mayank Agarwal, Rohit Sharma, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane, Rishabh Pant (wk), Hardik Pandya, Ravichandran Ashwin, Mohammed Shami, Ishant Sharma, Jasprit Bumrah.
New Zealand will have a big advantage as they will be playing a two-match Test series against England just before the WTC final and thus, they will have more time to adapt themselves in the English conditions. The Kiwis will open their batting with the duo of Tom Latham and Tom Blundell. The likes of skipper Kane Williamson, Ross Taylor, Henry Nicholls and BJ Watling will form part of the middle-order.
With the conditions in England expected to assist the seam bowlers, New Zealand will have to pick one of their all-rounders from Mitchell Santner, Daryl Mitchell and Colin de Grandhomme. However, New Zealand already have a great fast bowling attack suitable for the English conditions and thus, they would want to consider picking Santner as the lone spinner. Tim Southee, Trent Boult, Kyle Jamieson and Neil Wagner will form part of the Kiwi fast bowling attack.
New Zealand Playing 11 (likely): Kane Williamson (C), Tom Latham, Tom Blundell, Ross Taylor, Henry Nicholls, BJ Watling (wk), Mitchell Santner, Kyle Jamieson, Tim Southee, Neil Wagner, Trent Boult.
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