Ranking India's bowling attack ahead of WTC final vs Australia

The Indian attack will be key for their chances in the WTC final
The Indian attack will be key for their chances in the WTC final

The much anticipated World Test Championship (WTC) final is upon us as Team India are set to lock horns with arch-rivals Australia in the summit clash at the Oval from Wednesday, June 7.

The two teams enter the contest high on confidence in the search for their first WTC title despite stark contrast in the months leading up to the marquee clash.

India's bowling attack has been among the most fearsome in World cricket over the past few years. The depth and variety in their arsenal have been instrumental in the Team's success at home and away.

While Rohit Sharma's side will be without their pace spearhead Jasprit Bumrah for this all-important game, they still boast several world-class bowlers in the pace and spin department.

The attack consists of exciting pace bowling options with Mohammed Shami, Mohammed Siraj, Umesh Yadav, Shardul Thakur, and Jaydev Unadkat, along with the spin trio of Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, and Axar Patel.

As we build up to the riveting context between the Indian bowlers and the Aussie batters, let us rank India's bowling attack for the WTC final against Australia.

#5 Umesh Yadav

Veteran Umesh Yadav has been one of the unsung heroes in Tests for Team India. The 36-year-old has played 56 Tests and boasts an impressive record with 168 wickets at an average of 30.54.

While his selection in the squad is often up for discussion thanks to his mediocre record in the white-ball formats, Umesh has been among India's key contributors in the Test format over the past decade.

The right-arm pacer also has an excellent record in the English conditions despite playing only two matches, with nine wickets at an impressive average of 23.55. This includes six wickets in India's last match against England at the Oval, which they won by a mammoth 157 runs.

Umesh also has 51 scalps against the Australians, including a five-wicket haul in the third Test of the 2011/12 series. Although Umesh Yadav can be slightly expensive, his happy knack for picking up the key wickets, especially with the old ball, could be vital in the WTC final.

#4 Ravindra Jadeja

Ravindra Jadeja comes into the WTC final on the back of helping the Chennai Super Kings win their fifth IPL title. The wily left-arm spinner could play different roles at various stages with the ball based on the changing conditions during the game.

While his overall numbers in Tests are exemplary, with 264 wickets in 64 games, his numbers in England are pedestrian by his high standards. In 11 matches, Jadeja averages 46.08 with the ball in England, with only 23 wickets.

Jadeja does boast impressive numbers against the Aussies in his Test career, picking up 85 wickets in 16 matches at an average of 18.85. The all-rounder also has an excellent record against Australian star batter Steve Smith, dismissing him seven times in his Test career.

The 34-year-old finished 12th in the wicket-takers' list in the 2021-23 WTC cycle, picking up 43 scalps in 12 matches at an average of 23.23.

#3 Ravichandran Ashwin

The world's number-one-ranked Test Bowler Ravichandran Ashwin could play a pivotal role in the WTC final should he feature in India's playing XI. Often playing with a chip on his shoulders, The Tamil Nadu bowler will look for redemption for the 2021 WTC final defeat against New Zealand.

The 36-year-old was the third leading wicket-taker in this WTC cycle, picking up 61 wickets in 13 matches at an average of 19.67. Ashwin was also the leading wicket-taker in the recent home series against Australia, with 25 wickets in four Tests.

Overall, the off-spinner boasts incredible career numbers with 474 wickets in 92 games, including 32 five-wicket hauls.

Although Ashwin did not feature on India's last tour to England, his numbers in the country are impressive, with 18 wickets in seven games at an average of 28.11. He also has resounding numbers against Australia, picking up 114 wickets in 22 Tests in his illustrious career.

The champion bowler has also had the wood on Australia's key batter Steve Smith, dismissing him five times in the last seven Tests, with the Australian averaging only 17.2 in that period.

The Oval wicket is among the few in England that assists spin and Team India will look for their talisman to deliver the goods and help them win the elusive WTC title.

#2 Mohammed Siraj

Mohammed Siraj has been one of the revelations in world cricket over the past couple of years with his uncanny ability to move the ball both ways with the new cherry.

After picking up a five-wicket haul in India's famous win at Brisbane in 2021, Siraj's bowling has improved by leaps and bounds. He has become India's spearhead along with Mohammed Shami in the absence of Jasprit Bumrah.

The 29-year-old has made an impressive start to his Test career, picking up 47 wickets in 18 Tests at an average of 31.29. Siraj also picked up 31 wickets in 13 matches during this WTC cycle. He enjoyed an excellent tour of England, where he bagged 18 wickets in five Tests.

With the conditions at the Oval expected to favor seamers, India will look to Siraj for early breakthroughs to unsettle the Australian top order.

#1 Mohammed Shami

Mohammed Shami will lead the Indian pace attack in the WTC final against Australia and could be the difference between the teams should he hit his strides right away.

Shami was one of the few shining lights from India's WTC final defeat in 2021, picking up 4/76 in the first innings of that game.

While his overall numbers in Test cricket are impressive, with 225 wickets at an average of 27.48 in 63 matches, his statistics in wins are substantially better. Shami averages a resounding 20.3 with four five-wicket hauls in India's Test wins, showcasing his impact on the outcome.

The pacer had a reasonable tour to England in 2021, picking up 13 wickets in four matches.

Against Australia, Shami has picked up 40 wickets in 11 Tests at an average of 31.27, including his best figures of 6/56 in the second innings of the Perth Test in 2018.

Following a sensational IPL season where he finished as the leading wicket-taker, India will look to Mohammed Shami to lead the bowling attack against the much-feared Australian batting lineup.

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

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Edited by Ritwik Kumar
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