The Indian team for the World Test Championship final is expected to be picked on Friday. It is believed that the Chetan Sharma-led five-member selection committee is likely to pick the squad for the series against England as well.
India is set to travel to the United Kingdom later this month for the WTC final against New Zealand, followed by a long series against England. Sportstar understands that the committee will pick a large squad – consisting at least five middle-order batsmen, four openers, nine pacers and about five spinners – keeping the COVID-19 protocol in mind.
“With the travel restrictions and COVID protocol in place, a jumbo squad is set to be picked, so that in case there are injuries, we have enough back-up,” a Board source said.
Along with Wriddhiman Saha and Rishabh Pant, the selectors could also consider Ishan Kishan as a back-up.
Early departure to England?
With the Indian Premier League (IPL) postponed, the Indian team is expected to reach England a bit earlier than planned and after mandatory quarantine, is likely to play a few intra-squad matches before the World Test Championship final in Southampton between June 18 and 23.
The earlier plan was to fly out the Indian team on June 2, but BCCI treasurer Arun Dhumal told Sportstar that the Board is in touch with the England and Wales Cricket Board and the ICC about the travel plans and a decision is expected soon.
After a nightmare outing against Australia last December, the selectors may zero in on Prithvi Shaw – who has enjoyed tremendous success in the domestic tournaments and in the first half of the IPL. With a jumbo squad set to be picked, the youngster from Mumbai stands a chance.
Apart from that, the committee is expected to retain almost all the members who were part of the four-match Test series against England in February-March.
While openers Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul, Shubman Gill and Mayank Agarwal are certain to make it to the team, Shaw’s inclusion could be a boost to the side. And multiple sources in the Board have indicated that Mohammed Shami, Hanuma Vihari and Ravindra Jadeja are set for a comeback.
However, in the pace department, there could be a competition between Navdeep Saini and Prasidh Krishna, while Jasprit Bumrah and Ishant Sharma are set for a comeback.
India’s Test series will begin at Nottingham (August 4-8) and will be followed by matches at Lord’s (August 12-16), Leeds (August 25-29), Oval (September 2-6) and Manchester (September 10-14). In the last few series, BCCI had taken a few net bowlers and it is likely that the likes of Chetan Sakariya could be considered.
The Indian women’s team is also slated to play one Test, three ODIs and as many T20Is in England. While there is a buzz that the women’s team could also be picked on Friday, the selectors are yet to hear anything formally from the Board yet.