Since India’s loss to New Zealand at the World Test Championship final (WTC) in 2021, a lot has changed. Virat Kohli and Kane Williamson resigned from their captaincy, Kohli was back to his best, Ross Taylor retired, Australia’s T20 World Cups were won, and Australia once again dominated test cricket.
India will not have three of their key players available to face Pat Cummins and Australia at the Oval on Saturday, June 7.
Below are the reasons behind these players’ absences as well as their substitutes.
1 Jasprit Bumrah
His last match in the international arena was a Twenty20 International he played against Australia on September 20, 2022. After complaining of back pain, he was also ruled out of a series against South Africa as well as the T20 World Cup.
The right-arm speedster was added to India’s squad in January for an ODI home series against Sri Lanka. However, it was determined later that he wouldn’t play for several more months. The WTC final as well as the IPL in 2023 were both missed. Recently, he posted a photo of his shoes to indicate that he might have returned light training.
Bumrah was a valuable asset to India in this year’s WTC final, given his 37 wickets in England at an average of 26,27, despite the fact that he did not have a stellar performance in 2021. (Despite bowling well, Bumrah was the only Indian player who failed to pick up a single wicket in both innings.
India’s pacers will likely be Mohammed Siraj and Mohammed Shami, although Umesh Jadav and Jaydev Unadkat may have a chance if the conditions are favourable.
2 Rishabh Pant
Rishabh Pan, a young wicketkeeper and batsman who was playing at his peak in Test cricket, was involved in an accident last December. He sustained injuries to his head and knee and spent over a week in the hospital.
It is reported that he is recovering well. However, there is no timetable for when he will return. Ishan Kishnan may have a chance to play against Australia, but KS Bharat is more likely to be the one in charge.
Pant scored 4 (22) during the first WTC final 2021 innings and a brilliant 88 (88) during the low scoring third innings, before he made a hasty move that cost him his life.
Kohli, the captain at the moment, supported him in spite of widespread criticism, because he knew that this was his style, and that the shot could have freed him on another day.
3 Ishant Sharma
Ishant sped up to close Mohammed Shami’s attack in the WTC 2021, and he picked up 3/48 during New Zealand’s most memorable inning. It was his last match for India.
News reports soon after India’s loss stated that selectors were no longer in favor of Ishant or Wriddhiman Saha. Mohammed Siraj will be part of the Indian bowling line-up against Australia. He is Ishan’s successor but a less obvious one.