India will take on Australia in the second ICC World Test Championship (WTC) final, scheduled to be held at The Oval in London from June 7 to 11.
Australia qualified for the final with their win in the Indore Test of the recently-concluded Border-Gavaskar Trophy.
The showdown was then between India and Sri Lanka, with the latter needing a 2-0 series win in an away series versus New Zealand. But the Kiwis ended Sri Lanka's hopes with a thrilling two-wicket win in the first Test in Christchurch. India drew with Australia in the last Test in Ahmedabad and qualified for the WTC final.
For the all-important WTC final, veteran wicketkeeper Dinesh Karthik feels that seam-bowling all-rounder Shardul Thakur might replace spin all-rounder Akshar Patel in the playing XI.
While Shardul has not played a Test for India since July 2022, Akhsar impressed one and all with his batting exploits in the recently held four-match Test series against Australia. The southpaw finished the series as India’s second highest run-getter with 264 runs from five innings, including three half-centuries.
“If Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja are fit, Akshar Patel will have to miss out. I think Shardul Thakur will take his place. If I have to be very honest, India made a mistake last time by playing both spinners, and they didn’t bowl that much. It’s a one-off game and you can’t look at it in the bigger scheme of things,” Karthik was quoted as saying by Cricbuzz.
Dinesh Karthik also opined that India might have to do without one of Ashwin or Jadeja, if the pitch is more suitable for the fast bowlers.
“You have to go into the game saying what is my best XI to win that game? If that means leaving one of Jadeja and Ashwin out, so be it,” he added.
Ashwin (25 wickets) and Jadeja (22 wickets) played a key role in India’s 2-1 Border-Gavaskar Trophy 2023 triumph. The spin twin shared 47 wickets between them in four Tests and they were jointly declared Player-of-the-Series.
Both of them were part of India’s playing XI in the WTC 2021 final against New Zealand in Southampton, but failed to make an impact.
“It’s very hard for me to say how long they will keep going, but you do get the feeling that Ashwin is at the backend. Does he have another World Test Championship cycle in him? That is a question that he needs to answer. Again being the highest wicket-taker, I’m sure he will fancy himself,” Karthik stated.