BCCI set to pick big squad for WTC final and England series

After the suspension of IPL 2021, the attention shifts towards World Test Championship (WTC) final and test series against England. BCCI selectors will be choosing a 30 player squad for the tour to England on Friday. India is scheduled to play the World Test Championship final against New Zealand at Southampton from June 18-22 before taking on England in a five-Test series.

After suffering 3-1 defeat against India earlier this year, England will be looking to settle the score when Virat Kohli’s men tour England. The series will begin at Nottingham (Aug 4-8) and will be followed by matches at Lord’s (August 12-16), Leeds (Aug 25-29), Oval (Sep 2-6), and Manchester (Sep 10-14).

BCCI will be picking a big squad of 30 cricketers due to the fact that a 14-day hard quarantine is mandatory for passengers travelling from India to the UK. As per Sportstar, the large selection will include at least five middle-order batsmen, four openers, nine pacers, and about five spinners.

With these new extra positions opening up there could be an opportunity for the younger talents to make it to the team. The opening spot could be fought for by Abhimanyu Easwaran, Priyank Panchal who were backup openers in the test matches against England along with rookie opener Devdutt Padikkal. Prithvi Shaw is also going to be on the radar after being back in form during the IPL 2021 and domestic tournaments. Shaw was dropped from the team after a poor performance in one test he played in Australia.

Meanwhile, Ishan Kishan and KS Bharath will be fighting for the third wicket keeper’s slot after Rishabh Pant and Wriddhiman Saha. Hardik Pandya despite not bowling much will be the batting all-rounder, while Shardul Thakur could be used as the bowling all-rounder.

In the bowling department, Axar Patel and Rahul Chahar could be second for the spinner’s slot behind Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja. In the absence of T Natarajan, the left-arm seam bowling option could be Jaydev Unadkat while youngsters Prasidh Krishna and Avesh Khan could also be expected to make the cut.

The Indian team will now also be flying to England sooner than the initial plan on June 2 as the IPL 2021 has been postponed. After mandatory quarantine, the team is likely to play a few intra-squad matches before the World Test Championship final in Southampton between June 18 and 23.

The Indian women’s team is also slated to play one Test, three ODIs, and as many T20Is in England. While there is a buzz that the women’s team could also be picked on Friday, the selectors are yet to hear anything formally from the Board yet.

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