Team India and Australia will play the WTC 2023 Final at The Oval, London on 7th June 2023. International Cricket Council (ICC) has reserved an extra day (12th June 2023) in case the match could not be started due to bad weather or any other reason. This Final is the 2nd edition of the WTC tournament and the Indian cricket team will be playing the final for the 2nd time. India lost the 1st WTC 2021 cycle final against New Zealand.
Since the injury of Shreyas Iyer and the exclusion of Ajinkya Rahane, Team India tried Suryakumar Yadav at number 5 in the Test format but Suryakumar could not make much use of the opportunity at the international level so far, but no one can match his form, especially in the T20 Internationals. Now, the Indian cricket team has a very big headache for the upcoming WTC 2023 Final because of the injuries of Jasprit Bumrah and Shreyas Iyer.
Team India and captain Rohit Sharma, now have been used to the absence of Jasprit Bumrah because they have got talents like Umesh Yadav and Jaydev Unadkat as their bench strength.
Here are the Possible Players who can Bat at Number 5 for Team India in the upcoming WTC 2023 Final
1) Axar Patel
Axar Patel is currently in the form of his life, especially with the bat. His contribution in the lower order during the Border Gavaskar Trophy against Australia was very crucial and went underrated at the same time. He did not get many opportunities with the bowl to perform in the presence of Ashwin and Jadeja. However, his batting form might help Team India to play an extra all-rounder in the form of a batsman in the upcoming WTC 2023 Final at number 5.
If Axar gets an opportunity at number 5 as a batsman so India can go with Srikar Bharat as a complete Wicketkeeping option at 6, then Jadeja and Ashwin after Srikar till number 8. With a left-hander at number 5, will increase the variety of the batting lineup as well. But, with his current batting for India will have to go with three pacers on the pitch like The Oval along with Ashwin and Jaddu.
2) Shardul Thakur
No one will ever expect Shardul Thakur to bat number 5 but he is known for his important cameos at down the order and also broke crucial partnerships many times with his magical spells when the team needed a breakthrough. With him, Team India can go with 4 pacers along with an extra batsman. So to make his way into the playing 11 of the WTC 2023 final, Jadeja will move to number 5, Srikar at 6, Shardul at 7, and Ashwin at number 8. Shardul Thakur poses the skill of an all-rounder with a lot of variety in his bowling. He can bowl at any point of the situation in a match.
3) Ajinkya Rahane
Ajinkya Rahane’s form in the ongoing IPL 2023 will definitely put him on the radar of the selectors for the upcoming WTC 2023 Final. One and half years ago Ajinkya Rahane was the vice-captain of the Test side, but the continuation of his poor form forced the selectors to drop him and try a new player Shreyas Iyer. Shreyas Iyer made full use of that opportunity and solidified his place in the middle order of the test squad.
Now, the injury of Shreyas, the poor form of Suryakumar, and the 40 Away tour average of Rahane might tempt the selector to recall Rahane for the WTC 2023 final. Ajinkya Rahane’s experience might get an edge over Suryakumar in the playing 11.
4) Hardik Pandya
Hardik Pandya could be the best possible option to have in the playing 11 as per the pitch conditions at The Oval where the WTC 2023 Final will be played. But he played his last test match in 2018 and since his injury, he has not been included in the test squad. But his comeback in the other formats as an all-rounder has been one of the best-ever comebacks in the history of the Indian cricket team.
In one of his recent interviews, when he was asked about his comeback on the Test side he stated that “he wants to be selected on a merit basis only, he does not want to eat somebody’s place or opportunity. He will definitely do a comeback into the test side but not right row”.
But for WTC 2023 final, selectors will definitely put an eye on his fitness, and form, because if Hardik Pandya comes at number 5 he will resolve a big headache from the selectors as well.
Indian Cricket Team has five options for a single number 5 spot in the absence of Shreyas Iyer which are, Suryakumar Yadav, Axar Patel, Shardul Thakur, Ajinkya Rahane, and Hardik Pandya. Most Probably the Squad for the World Test Championship 2023 Final will be announced by the end of the month of May. And, It will be interesting to see that who will be selected for the number 5th place.