In anticipation of the highly anticipated WTC final between Australia and India, the Indian team has scheduled an intra-squad match instead of a practice match. This decision by the BCCI aims to help the team acclimatize to the English conditions.
Several key players from the Indian contingent, including captain Rohit Sharma, are still occupied with the Indian Premier League. However, all Indian players are expected to be available on English soil by June 1 for the showpiece clash.
According to reports, the intra-squad match has been organized to prepare the team for the crucial encounter. This game will provide an opportunity for all the players to showcase their skills. Rohit Sharma and Ishan Kishan may be unavailable due to their IPL commitments. In such cases, the BCCI may select a separate group of players to join the WTC squad in England for the practice match. A similar approach was taken before the WTC 2021 final as well.
While players like Rohit Sharma, Shubman Gill, Mohammad Shami, Ajinkya Rahane, and Ravindra Jadeja are still competing in the IPL 2023 playoffs, a majority of the Indian players, including Mohammad Siraj, Axar Patel, and Shardul Thakur, have already arrived in England.
As per reports, the players will travel in batches for the marquee event. The first batch has already reached England for the practice sessions. Meanwhile, experienced Indian top-order batsman Cheteshwar Pujara is already in England, participating in the County Championship. Pujara joins Australian batting stalwarts Steven Smith and Marnus Labuschagne in the championship.
Former Indian skipper Virat Kohli and R Ashwin have chosen not to travel with the first batch of the Indian contingent, despite their respective IPL teams being eliminated. However, coach Rahul Dravid and the support staff have arrived in the English capital on Tuesday. Reports suggest that Kohli and Ashwin will join the full squad on May 30 after the conclusion of the IPL final on May 28.
The Indian team is gradually settling in England, with travel arrangements being made from May 23 to May 30. The team will be focused on completing the unfinished business from the previous edition, where they lost the WTC final to New Zealand in Southampton. Additionally, the Indian team plans to organize a similar intra-squad game for further practice.
The Indian team is also facing challenges in finalizing their playing XI due to various players being unavailable due to injuries. The intra-squad match will be crucial for the selectors to make their decisions and determine the final playing XI.