ICC World Test Championship 2023 Final to be played at Kennington Oval Stadium in London against Australia is announced by BCCI.
Ajinkya Rahane has been recalled to India’s Test squad for the World Test Championship final against Australia to be played at the Oval from June 7.
The BCCI’s senior selection committee had a meeting on Monday evening and after a long deliberation, decided to hand Rahane a recall as Shreyas Iyer, Rishabh Pant and Rajat Patidar are out with injuries.
Rahane, who endured a lean patch, and was without a century since the Boxing Day Test against Australia in December 2020 was dropped from the team following India’s tour to South Africa in 2021/22. Since that match-winning knock at Melbourne which started India’s turnaround in the Border-Gavaskar Trophy, Rahane has crossed fifty only thrice and although he showed signs of getting back to form during the Tests in South Africa, he was subsequently dropped as India ended up losing 1-0 lead in the three-match series.
Although Rahane was exploring County opportunities in England last year, a hamstring injury he suffered during the IPL put those plans to rest. And in the domestic season that followed, Rahane scored three centuries, including a double century, in the Duleep Trophy and Ranji Trophy. Leading Mumbai in India’s premier domestic season, he scored 634 runs and narrowly missed out on a knockout berth.
And in the ongoing IPL, Rahane has been one of the standout performers showing he is ready to reinvent his game. More importantly, he has looked in terrific touch, something that not only made the selectors notice him, but also get the backing of the team management. With Shreyas and Pant missing, the team management believes Rahane’s presence in the middle-order would be needed against Australia as they search their first ever ICC title since 2013. While KL Rahul is also in the squad and can fill in at middle-order, there is a strong chance that he could still be in the XI and play as wicketkeeper ahead of KS Bharat.
Barring Rahane’s inclusion, there are no other major changes from the squad that featured in the Border-Gavaskar Trophy in February-March. Suryakumar Yadav has lost his place and as expected the selectors have also recalled Shardul Thakur to the squad, who could play as a third seamer alongside Mohammed Siraj and Mohammed Shami.
With Thakur coming into the mix, the selectors were left with no option but to drop Kuldeep Yadav as picking four spinners would have been redundant for the Test as there are already R Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja and Axar Patel in the squad.