The ICC World Test Championship Final is only two nights away. Team India is all set to face the New Zealand team lead by Kane Williamson from 18th June to 22th June. As India has already announced their 15-men squad for the WTC Final, we look for the bowling combinations that India might go for the final. And yes, we will provide stats to support our reasons. So, let’s get on with this.
When and where the WTC final will be played at?
The WTC final will be played at The Ageas Bowl Stadium, Southampton, England. The match will be played from 18-22 June 2021. However, as there are some chances of rain, one extra day has been added to the schedule as a reserve day.
India’s Squad for the WTC Final
Read about the full squad here- India Squad for ICC World Test Championship 2021
Which bowlers should India play?
England is said to be the perfect place if you are a pace bowler from India. Thus, anyone in the team would like to play and get their name on that first-ever World Test Championship Final scoreboard. Beside that, India has been the most successful team in tests since 2015 after Virat Kohli took the charge of the team. And surely, bowlers had to do with success a lot.
Pacers trio, actually it is a four men team lead by Ishant Sharma has been the best in the world, along with the Aussie trio of Cummins, Starc and Hazelwood. Along with them, if you talk about India’s bowling pair, there is none in the world like a peak Ravindra Jadeja and Ravichandran Ashwin.
New inclusion Mohammed Siraj has been a great find for Virat Kohli and the team. Siraj was very impressive in Australia in absence of seniors like Ishant, Shami and Bumrah.
Hence, choosing five bowlers from them can be tough choice considering Jadeja and Ashwin are proper world class all-rounders in the test format. Moreover, you can not have a more complete player than Jadeja right now in the world. But, we have stats and facts to provide on what could be Virat’s choice ahead of the WTC Final.
#1 Ishant Sharma
The veteran Indian pacer is the most experience bowler of the lot. Ishant has been the workhorse for the team since his debut in 2007-08. He is been always been underrated and a bit lucky throughout his career. However, since 2017-18 season, Ishant has been the most improved Indian player with the ball.
The tall lanky pacer from Delhi has everything to be in the team in the WTC Final. Experience is the first of them. Ishant is only the second Indian pacer after Kapil Dev to play 100 test matches for India. Along with that he has a greater experience of playing in England. In fact, none has played more tests in England than Ishant; 12 being the number.
In those 12 matches Ishant has managed to take 43 wickets with an average of 33.9. Along with that Ishant has been very impressive in WTC as well taking 36 wickets with an average of 17.36 runs per wicket. Even, Ishant has found New Zealand to be his prey more often than not. He has 35 wickets in 7 test matches against the Blackcaps.
So, without a doubt Ishant makes it to the team, hopefully he is fit till 18th morning.
#2 Ravi Ashwin
Though there are some talks about India playing one spinner and Jadeja being the only one due to his 3D feature, we think India would go with two spinners.
In that case, you just can not drop the man who has taken most test wickets than anyone since his debut. In fact no one has taken more international wickets than Ashwin since his debut. Yeah, most of them came in home conditions, but wickets are wickets and you have to earn those in international arena.
Moreover, Ashwin has been very successful in his recent overseas tests. He has shown immense improvements on the pitches that does not support the spinners that much. Even Virat would like his intelligent bowler in his troop has well.
Ashwin has been the star performer for India in World Test Championship. Perhaps, he is India’s highest wicket-taker for India in WTC with 67 wickets in 13 test matches over the last two year. Therefore, surely Ashwin goes in next after Ishant in our lineup for the WTC final.
#3 Ravindra Jadeja
Now if you are making an Indian team right now, and you do not have Jadeja in it, you might be on the other planet. There is no one in the world right now who contributes as much as Jadeja does on a cricket field. Though we are choosing him as a bowling option, but you just can not ignore his batting and fielding contribution as well.
You might not need any explanation after our exclusive stats on Jadeja. His 469 runs and 28 wickets in WTC has made them one of the best contributors for the team. Along with that, Jadeja aslo has the experience of playing in England as well. He has taken 16 wickets in his 5 test matches in England.
#4 Mohammed Shami
Shami has been in and out of the team due to his injury concerns just like other pacers in the team. Though, his IPL performance for the Punjab Kings showed he is still hungry for wickets and success.
Shami produces everything that Virat likes in his pacers. Lethal bouncers, pace over 145kmph, and ability to take wickets with both new and old balls. Perhaps, he is India’s best old ball bowler with his ability to reverse the ball at will.
Along with Ishant, Shami has played the most matches in England from current Indian bowling line up. He has featured in 8 tests in England claiming 21 wickets at 47.04 runs per wicket. Though it is not a great record for anyone playing in English conditions, but you can be hopeful seeing his Test Championship. Shami has been one of the better bowlers for India in WTC taking 36 wickets at 19.77
#5 Jasprit Bumrah
Now even you are a Jasprit Bumrah fan you know that last few series has not been than good for the speedster. Bumrah has found it hard to take wickets in recent times. Though he has been very economical and has created pressure with the ball.
Bumrah has always been captain’s favorite whenever the chips are down. Therefore, Kohli has always liked Bumrah to be in the bowling run-up whenever he feels he needs a break.
Bumrah had played in three tests in England in India’s last tour to England. He has taken 14 wickets over there with an average of 25.92. In WTC he has taken 34 wickets in 9 test matches in last two years.
Though Bumrah is lacking some wickets behind, we think with his previous experience and ability to break partnerships, he is a must in for the WTC Final.
So who misses out then in WTC Final?
Though there is some serious chance that Mohammed Siraj can get a nod ahead one of the above pacers. His ability to move the ball both ways has been the reason for it. Also, he has done extremely well in IPL and in the intra-squad match that India played. However, we guess Virat and company might stick to more experienced bowlers for the most important test match in last two years.
What bowling line-up should India play according to you?