The Board of Control for Cricket in India has named a 15-man squad for the ICC World Test Championship final against New Zealand, which will take place at Southampton's Ageas Bowl from June 18 to 22.
The board initially confirmed the squad's strength to be 20. Still, that number has been reduced to 15 after Axar Patel, Washington Sundar, KL Rahul, Shardul Thakur, and Mayank Agarwal were denied permission.
With Agarwal's dismissal, India was expected to go with Shubman Gill and Rohit Sharma as openers. Gill, in particular, shone brightly during India's recent tour of Australia, where he was instrumental in the team's historic victory at the Gabba in Brisbane.
Meanwhile, there's still no information on how the team's bowling squad will dress. India now has pacers Jasprit Bumrah, Ishant Sharma, Mohammed Shami, Mohammed Siraj, and Umesh Yadav to pick from after Shardul Thakur's departure. Despite Siraj's outstanding maiden series in Australia, the team is likely to persist with the speed troika of Bumrah, Sharma, and Shiami.
It comes down to whether you want to field four pacers and a spinner or three pacers and two spinners. The team is expected to make a final choice in this regard after they have seen the final surface for the headline match.
There are no leg-spinners in the Indian side, and with Axar Patel and Washinton Sundar out, they have only Ravindra Jadeja and Ravichandran Ashwin to pick from as spinners. While Sundar had an intense Australia tour and followed it up with a similar performance against England at home, Patel had a record-breaking debut series against England, taking 27 wickets in three Tests. However, Ashwin and Jadeja's expertise has given them the upper hand.
In addition, Wriddhiman Saha has been retained in the 15-man squad alongside Rishabh Pant, who has remained the preferred pick for keeping following outstanding performances against Australia and England at home.
India 15-man squad: Virat Kohli (c), Ajinkya Rahane (vc), Rishabh Pant (wk), Shubman Gill, Rohit Sharma, Cheteshwar Pujara, Umesh Yadav, Hanuma Vihari, R. Ashwin, Jasprit Bumrah, Ravindra Jadeja, Ishant Sharma, Mohammed Shami, Mohammed Siraj, Wriddhiman Saha