Ishan Kishan replaces KL Rahul for WTC Final.


Ishan Kishan replaces KL Rahul for WTC Final.

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In a major announcement, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has revealed that Ishan Kishan will replace KL Rahul for India’s World Test Championship final against Australia at The Oval in June. Rahul, the captain of Lucknow Super Giants, has been sidelined from the rest of the Indian Premier League (IPL) and the WTC final due to a thigh injury.

Kishan, who is yet to make his Test debut, has played 14 One Day Internationals (ODIs) and 27 Twenty20 Internationals (T20Is) for India. He was also part of the Test squad for the home series against Australia before the IPL. KS Bharat, who made his Test debut against Australia in February this year, is the other wicketkeeper in the Indian squad.

Injured Players in the IPL

Rahul, who had earlier announced on social media that he would undergo surgery, will now report to the National Cricket Academy (NCA) in Bengaluru for rehabilitation. He is the latest addition to the long list of Indian players who have been ruled out of action due to injuries.

Jaydev Unadkat, Rahul’s teammate at Lucknow Super Giants, had hurt his left shoulder while training in the IPL and his availability for the WTC final will be decided later, according to the BCCI statement.

Meanwhile, Umesh Yadav, who hurt his hamstring during Kolkata Knight Riders’ game against Royal Challengers Bangalore on April 26, is also on the injury list. He has not played for KKR since but has resumed “low-intensity bowling”. The BCCI’s medical team is closely monitoring his progress.


Potential Replacements

In the absence of both Rahul and Shreyas Iyer, Ajinkya Rahane might make a comeback to the Indian XI, having last played in a Test in January 2022. The former India coach Ravi Shastri had backed Rahane’s inclusion in the squad, highlighting his desire to play Ranji Trophy as one of the key differentiators.

Rahane’s return also means his county championship debut with Leicestershire is likely to be delayed after initially committing to playing eight red-ball games and the entire 50-overs competition.

Cheteshwar Pujara, who is already in the UK, is in excellent form, having scored three centuries in four games for Sussex in county cricket.
In addition to Kishan, batters Suryakumar Yadav and Ruturaj Gaikwad, and seamer Mukesh Kumar have been named as reserve players for the WTC final. Among them, only Suryakumar has Test-match experience, having made his debut against Australia in Nagpur in February.

The Indian team will be looking to put up a strong performance in the WTC final against Australia, who have been in excellent form in recent times. The match is set to take place from June 18 to 22 at The Oval in London.

Australia Team

On Australia’s side, the team’s preparations for the World Test Championship (WTC) final against India have also been marred by injury concerns as fast bowler Lance Morris has been ruled out of the tournament and the upcoming Ashes series due to a back injury. Meanwhile, the fitness of Josh Hazlewood, who has been sidelined with an Achilles heel injury, will be evaluated based on his performance in the ongoing IPL.

If he plays six or seven matches for Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB), the Australian pacer is expected to be fully fit for the WTC and the Ashes.

For now, fans will have to wait for how the final squads for the WTC Final will turn out.


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