WTC finals race: How England have spoiled Pakistan's chances and what Team India need to do to stay in contention?
Currently, South Africa are 2nd, Sri Lanka (3rd), and India (4th) in the WTC Points Table
Team India are left with no option than playing an aggressive brand of cricket against Bangladesh in their upcoming Test series for a spot in the World Test Championship final. However, the problem for India is that they have major players injured at the moment including skipper Rohit Sharma. Given the depth that the Indian side has, it will not be a big problem to replace the key players but surely filling the shoes of Jasprit Bumrah, Ravindra Jadeja and more, is a big ask from any cricketer. Coming to the WTC Finals Race and Standing, the last leg of the 2021-23 finals has already begun. England have damaged Pakistan's chances of qualifying for the WTC with their 26 runs win over the in the second Test and the Babar Azam-led side at currently standing fifth in the points table. It was a series that Pakistan needed to win.
However, England won both of their Test matches against Pakistan at their home. Now, the upcoming Test series between India and Bangladesh, Australia vs South Africa and Australia vs West Indies will decide the two finalists for WTC Finals 2023. Currently, South Africa are 2nd, Sri Lanka (3rd), and India (4th) in the WTC Points Table. (READ: KL Rahul's CRYPTIC response on Pujara as vice-captain)
Having already lost the ODI series, the Indian team will need to win its next six Test matches (two in Bangladesh and four vs Australia at home) to remain in contention for a top-two spot in the World Test Championship points table. As of now, Indian team is placed fourth in the table with 52.08 percentage points while Australia (75 percentage points) and South Africa (60 percentage points) are placed first and second. Sri Lanka, with 64 percentage points, is third in the list.
Checkout the current WTC standing below
"There is a Test championship (final) qualification so we will also have to be aggressive. We know where we stand and what we need to do to qualify for the final," said Rahul during a media conference after the unveiling of the trophy.
"Each day, each session we will assess what is required for the team in that particular moment and give our best."
The season-ending World Test Championship will be held in June, 2023 at the Oval in London. Flexibility in mindset is the order of the hour and a key recipe for success.
"We won't go in with any set mindset. Yes, there is a certain history of a venue, you look at the numbers and take some pointers from that. At least for us we will go there and try to be aggressive and brave, try and get a result. The game is played over five days so it is important to break it down to smaller targets. In every session, the demands would be different but one thing is sure that you are going to see a lot of aggressive cricket from our side," the skipper assured.
A lot of this talk of aggressive intent has come watching England team's radically different ultra-aggressive approach, which has caught the imagination of cricket fans. And skipper Rahul doesn't think English style of batsmanship characterises "recklessness". (With PTI inputs)