In the wee hours of Tuesday, as many as 11 members of the Indian Men’s Test Cricket Team, accompanied by their support staff, will set off for England to begin their preparations for the highly anticipated World Test Championship final against Australia. The final is scheduled led to take place at the iconic Oval in London on June 7, and the Indian squad is leaving no stone unturned to clinch their maiden ICC title since the 2013 Champions Trophy.
11 players to travel in the first batch
The squad for the much-awaited showdown was unveiled in the final week of last month. However, only 11 members are traveling to London as of now, comprising seven squad members and a reserve, along with three support bowlers. Former Indian skipper Virat Kohli will be traveling with the team following the elimination of RCB from the IPL 2023. Joining Kohli will be a star-studded lineup of bowlers including Ravichandran Ashwin, Axar Patel, Shardul Thakur, Mohammed Siraj, Umesh Yadav, and Jaydev Unadkat.
Interestingly, all the traveling cricketers, except Unadkat, belong to franchises whose Indian Premier League (IPL) campaign ended in the league stage. Unadkat, who had sustained an injury during practice sessions, was replaced by the Lucknow Super Giants. owe, recent reports confirm that both Unadkat and Umesh Yadav have been given a clean bill of health by experts at the National Cricket Academy, ensuring their availability for the prestigious final.
The reserves for the team include the promising pacer Mukesh Kumar, who will be traveling alongside the first batch. Mukesh will be accompanied by three additional pacers, Aniket Choudhary, Akash Deep, and Yarra Prithviraj, who have been selected as net bowlers follow ing consultation between the national selection panel and the team management.
Rohit and Pujara to join later
Meanwhile, Cheteshwar Pujaracurrently participating in the County Championship, is set to join the team’s preparations later this week. Pujara’s expertise in the longer format of the game and his sound technique will be invaluable assets for the Indian team as they fine-tune their strategies for the cruc ial encounter.
In the absence of captain Rohit Sharma, who will be leading his IPL team, the Mumbai Indians, in the playoffs, the responsibility of leading the preparation phase falls to head coach Rahul DravidDravid, along with the rejuvenated coaching staff, is eager to guide the team to glory and secure India’s maiden World Test Championship title.
The remaining members of the 15-player squad, along with batting reserves Suryakumar Yadav and Ruturaj Gaikwad, are expected to join the team in London on May 29, the night after the IPL final. Their arrival will further strengthen the team and boost the camaraderie as India’s players gear up for the ultimate battle.