Three left-field selection options India may consider at World Test Championship final

India must make some important selections when choosing their final XI to play Australia in the ICC World Test Championship final in June, as star bowler Jasprit Bumrah has already been ruled out due to injury and a number of positions in their batting order are still to be determined.

We examine three Indian players who saw little or no action during the most recent Border-Gavaskar Test Series against Australia and who might be in play should the team’s selectors decide to make changes in light of the various circumstances anticipated for the Final Test at The Oval.

Hardik Pandya

Although though Pandya hasn’t participated in a Test match for his nation since 2018, the brilliant all-rounder has a track record of winning matches and could easily cover a variety of positions for his team if chosen. The 29-year-old right-armer may have the most effect with the ball, but he could fit in India’s middle order with ease.

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Pandya excelled with the ball on a large platform at the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup in 2017 and, if chosen, may provide India a crucial fourth-pace option. Pandya has shown he can have an impact at the top level, so if he is picked and his body is ready to the rigors of five-day cricket, it would be a bit of a wildcard option. But, a surprise selection may be the difference between India winning and losing the crucial Test.

Shardul Thakur

Thakur has made three of his eight Test appearances for India in England, and the gifted bowler will undoubtedly be given consideration for the team given that he offers a high-quality additional option with the ball and is more than adept with the bat. Thakur will be taken into consideration by selectors for the lone World Test Championship final, former Indian coach Ravi Shastri recently stated on The ICC Review.

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Former wicket-keeper Dinesh Karthik furthered this statement by saying the 31-year-old should take the place of in-form all-rounder Axar Patel. The first two seamers that India will likely choose are Mohammed Shami and Mohammed Siraj, with Thakur competing with Umesh Yadav and Jaydev Unadkat for the third and final spot in the pace attack.

KL Rahul

While Shubman Gill now seems to be Rohit Sharma’s chosen partner at the top of India’s batting order, Rahul still has at least one opening in their middle order that the gifted right-hander may be able to fill. In a recent edition of The ICC Review, Australia legend Ricky Ponting emphasized Rahul’s stellar performance in England and expressed his belief that both he and Gill may be chosen for the same squad for the one-off Test match.

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The veteran 30-year-old might still be considered since Shreyas Iyer, the middle-order incumbent who has injury worries, has hit two of his seven Test hundreds in England, including a stunning 149 at The Oval in 2018.

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