Dehli May 09, 2023: Ishan Kishan has replaced the injured KL Rahul in India's squad for the World Test Championship (WTC) final against Australia at The Oval in June. Rahul, the captain of Lucknow Super Giants, had been sidelined from the rest of the IPL and the WTC final with a thigh injury. A decision on Jaydev Unadkat, who had hurt his left shoulder while training in the IPL, for the WTC final will be taken later, according to a BCCI statement.
Kishan is uncapped in Test cricket, but has played 14 ODIs and 27 T20Is so far, and was also part of the Test squad for the home series against Australia before the IPL. He is the second wicketkeeper in India's WTC squad behind KS Bharat, who had recently made his Test debut against Australia in February this year in the absence of Rishabh Pant. He played six innings in the four Tests for a total of 101 runs with a high score of 44.
Kishan has played 48 first-class matches so far for 2985 runs at an average of 38.76 with six hundreds, and in the recent Ranji Trophy season he played just two games and scored 180 runs while averaging 45.
As Rahul had announced earlier on social media, he will now undergo surgery and will subsequently report to the National Cricket Academy (NCA) in Bengaluru for rehab.
Rahul's LSG team-mate Unadkat is also out of the rest of the IPL with an injury. He then travelled to Mumbai for scans and visited one of the specialist consultants appointed by the BCCI.
Umesh Yadav has also joined the injury list, having hurt his hamstring during Kolkata Knight Riders' game against Royal Challengers Bangalore on April 26. The fast bowler has not played for KKR since, but has resumed "low-intensity bowling". The BCCI's medical team is working with KKR's staff to get Umesh fit and is "closely monitoring" his progress.
In the injury-enforced absence of both Rahul and Shreyas Iyer, Ajinkya Rahane might return to India's XI, having last played a in Test in January 2022. Former India coach Ravi Shastri had backed Rahane's inclusion in the squad, underlining Rahane's desire to play Ranji Trophy as one of the key differentiators. Rahane's return means his county championship debut with Leicestershire is likely to be pushed back after initially committing to play eight red-ball games and the entire 50-overs competition. Cheteshwar Pujara is already in the UK and is in excellent form, having scored three centuries in four games for Sussex in county cricket.
Meanwhile, batters Suryakumar Yadav and Ruturaj Gaikwad, and seamer Mukesh Kumar have been named as reserve players for the WTC final. Among them, only Suryakumar has Test-match experience, having made his debut against Australia in Nagpur in February.
India squad for WTC final: Rohit Sharma (capt.), Shubman Gill, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane, KS Bharat (wk), R Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Axar Patel, Shardul Thakur, Mohammed Shami, Mohammed Siraj, Umesh Yadav, Jaydev Unadkat, Ishan Kishan (wk)
Standby players: Ruturaj Gaikwad, Mukesh Kumar, Suryakumar Yadav