WTC Final: Reason why India selectors picked Ishan Kishan ahead of Wriddhiman Saha as KL Rahul’s replacement

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On Monday (May 8), the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) announced that Ishan Kishan would replace the injured KL Rahul for the upcoming ICC World Test Championship (WTC) final against Australia, starting on June 7 at the Oval.

Australia had topped the table until the cut-off date, while India finished second after defeating the Aussies in a five-match Test series at home. However, several key Indian players, including Rahul, are currently out due to injury concerns.

The Indian selectors’ decision to replace Rahul with Kishan drew mixed reactions from fans and experts of the game. While some supported the move, many thought that Wriddhiman Saha, with his international experience, would have been a better replacement for Rahul. Kishan and Saha are both playing in the IPL 2023 for their respective franchises, Mumbai Indians (MI) and Gujarat Titans (GT).

The recall of Ajinkya Rahane to the Indian team led fans to believe that the selectors might recall Saha to the Test side as well. However, according to PTI, the selection committee, led by interim chief Shiv Sunder Das, backed Kishan for the role. This decision showed continuity, as Kishan had been selected as the backup wicketkeeper in the Border-Gavaskar Trophy.

According to the same report, Saha’s name was not even considered for selection. “Kishan was the designated second keeper for the Border-Gavaskar Trophy. There was no discussion on Wriddhiman Saha,” a source said on conditions of anonymity.

Saha last played a Test match for India in Mumbai in December 2021. With several key Indian players out due to injuries, it remains to be seen how Kishan and the rest of the Indian team will perform in the WTC final against Australia.

India squad for WTC final: Rohit Sharma (c), Shubman Gill, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane, KS Bharat (wk), Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Axar Patel, Shardul Thakur, Mohd. Shami, Mohd. Siraj, Umesh Yadav, Jaydev Unadkat, Ishan Kishan (wk).

Standby players: Ruturaj Gaikwad, Mukesh Kumar, Suryakumar Yadav.

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