Team India during the Border-Gavaskar Trophy. (Pic: Getty Images)

3 major concerns for India ahead of WTC final against Australia

Following the conclusion of the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2023, Team India members are now preparing for the World Test Championship (WTC) final. The Indian team will take on Australia in the WTC final, which will be played at the Kennington Oval in London from June 7 to 11.

While Australia finished first in the WTC 2021-23 league stage, India ended second. Rohit Sharma and Co. confirmed their place in the summit clash of the Test championship by registering a 2-1 win in the four-match Border-Gavaskar Trophy. India will be featuring in their second final in the World Test Championship, having reached the finale during the inaugural edition, which concluded in 2021.


Team India were a strong contender to clinch the inaugural WTC, but went down to New Zealand by eight wickets in the final Southampton in June 2021.

As India resume their hunt for that elusive ICC win, we look at three major concerns for them ahead of the WTC final against Australia.


#1 Making the mental shift from T20 to Test format

Team India are preparing for the World Test Championship final. Pic: BCCI

The biggest worry for India heading into the WTC final will be the fact most of the players will head into red-ball cricket straight from T20 mode. If you look at the Indian squad for the WTC summit clash, barring Cheteshwar Pujara and KS Bharat, all others were involved in the IPL.

If we talk of getting accustomed to conditions, Pujara has had the best preparations. He has notched up 545 runs in eight innings for Sussex at an average of 68.12 in County Championship Division Two. But the same cannot be said about the rest.

Bharat has not played any competitive cricket since the Border-Gavaskar Trophy against Australia, which concluded in early March. It has only been a few days since the IPL ended.

And while players whose franchises exited the tournament ahead of the playoffs reached England earlier than the others, the fact remains that they could still be in T20 mode during the WTC final.

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As professionals, cricketers are expected to make the mental and technical switch from one format to another. But it is easier said than done.


#2 Rohit Sharma’s form

Rohit Sharma has been struggling for runs. (Pic: Getty Images)

The batting form of skipper Rohit Sharma, across formats, is another major concern for the team heading into the WTC final against a strong Australian outfit. The right-handed batter had a forgettable IPL 2023 campaign while leading Mumbai Indians (MI).

In 16 matches, he scored 332 runs at a poor average of 20.75 and a strike rate of 132.80, with two half-centuries and a best of 65. Very rarely did Rohit look in control and his dismissals included a number of soft ones.

Before the IPL, Rohit led Team India in the Border-Gavaskar Trophy. He scored a fantastic 120 in the Nagpur Test but failed to replicate his performances in any of the subsequent matches. He crossed 30 in three of his other five innings but had a highest score of 35.

Speaking of his form in white-ball formats for India, he notched up an ODI ton against New Zealand in Indore back in January. Before that, he had a poor T20 World Cup 2022 campaign, scoring 116 runs in six innings at an average of under 20 and an underwhelming strike rate of 106.42.


In short, Rohit has been below par across formats over the last year or so, which is not a good sign ahead of the WTC final.

#3 Missing pieces in the middle-order puzzle

India will miss the services of Rishabh Pant. (Pic: Getty Images)

Team India look slightly weak in the batting department, particularly the middle order, due to injury issues. They are without Rishabh Pant, who can single-handedly turn the fortunes of a match even in Test cricket.

While Pant is recuperating following his car accident last year, India will have to hope Bharat or Ishan Kishan, whoever plays, lifts their game.

Also, in Shreyas Iyer’s absence due to injury, India have gone back to Ajinkya Rahane, who had an impressive IPL 2023 campaign for Chennai Super Kings (CSK). Playing an uncharacteristically aggressive brand of cricket, Rahane smashed 326 runs in 14 matches at a strike rate of 172.49.

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While Rahane looked in great touch in the IPL, his selection for the WTC final is definitely a gamble that comes with its own set of risks.

Check out India Squad for World Cup 2023 & South Africa Squad for World Cup 2023. Follow Sportskeeda for latest News.

Edited by
Samya Majumdar
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