Lack of similar preparation ahead of the World Test Championship (WTC) final hurt this Indian team against New Zealand that had just won a series against England. The team arrived in London from Southampton on Thursday and will be based there until the warm-ups begin. There are are some questions though.
Shubhman Gill’s last seven Test innings read 0, 14, 11, 15*, 0, 28, 8. Cheteshwar Pujara has gone 35 innings now without a century. Virat Kohli averaged 19.33 in 2020 and 28.63 so far in 2021. Ajinkya Rahane has 125 Test innings under his belt and a batting average of 41.12 to show for it. Rishabh Pant has shown amazing talent at this level and an equal amount of impulsiveness that needs ironing out.
There are discussions going on— the possibility of Kohli moving up to the No. 3 slot and a Hanuma Vihari or KL Rahul coming into the middle-order — which could be at the cost of a Pujara. The message for the Test specialist is a simple one — change the approach or make way.
Jasprit Bumrah was found searching for the right length. He has around five weeks to sort it out. Ishant Sharma, for a body riddled with injuries, has finished 14 years of Test cricket already — a time-span that is bound to take its toll despite the pacer being only 32. Mohammed Shami has been magical but, the body’s taken too much beating already. India realised during the Test against New Zealand – a four-pronged pace attack will have to be in place against England.
Expect Mohammed Siraj to play every Test against England and Avesh Khan, the 24-year-old MP pacer to get drafted in the eleven sooner or later. In fact, Siraj not playing the WTC final is, in hindsight, being seen as an “opportunity missed”. The team management is also looking at using Shardul Thakur as an all-rounder.