India’s WTC journey: 3 biggest finds for the Indian team | Looking at the 3 best finds for the Indian team throughout their WTC journey
The World Test Championship (WTC) has been one remarkable journey for the Indian cricket team. Right from leading the charts in the initial phase, to encountering a major stumbling block in the middle and then finishing it off in style, they managed to qualify for the showpiece game against New Zealand in some style and swagger.
In this wild trip, they have managed to unearth some precious gems; players who might not feature for them in the final vs the Kiwis but could be vital cogs in the setup for the times to come. So, let us elaborate on these individuals, whom we would like to refer to as the biggest finds for the Indian Test team in the past couple of years.
India’s perpetual search for a reliable middle-order bat led them to rely on the Hyderbad-based Hanuma Vihari during the team’s tour to the West Indies in 2019. Vihari had already made his debut in England a year prior to that and played a gritty knock at the Boxing Day Test in Melbourne in late 2018. However, he started getting a regular run only from that series in Caribbean onward.
Vihari did well to strike a century in that series itself and earned himself a consistent run thereafter. Since then, he has at times been in and out of the XI depending on the combination that the skipper decides to go with. If there’s the need of any extra batsman, Vihari fills that slot seamlessly at number six.
His highly impactful, gritty and valourous performance in the crucial draw vs Australia in Sydney late last year, where he played inspite of an injury, is enough to show the tremendous character and attitude that the batsman possesses. He might or might not play the WTC finale but will continue to behold some serious importance in the Indian team’s scheme of things in the coming times.
It is said that the Indian domestic circuit hones and prepares players for the tumultuous time ahead in international cricket like nothing else. Well, Mohammed Siraj’s story is a true testament to that fact. The pacer was roped in to the squad as a potential replacement to Ishant Sharma in the tour to Australia. Even then, many were pinning on Navdeep Saini to get the nod over Siraj.
By the end of the series, Siraj was spearheading the Indian attack, and he was doing it in some style. The pacer’s absolutely comfortable adaption to the conditions in Australia, despite battling a terrible personal loss, is a story for the ages. He has scalped 16 wickets in five Test matches so far, but Siraj’s performances and overall impact speak for much more than that.
He donned the responsibility of leading the Indian bowling attack at India’s most crucial juncture in the WTC journey, and for that he deserves all the applause in the world. Again, his place in India’s playing XI for the WTC finale is uncertain, but Siraj is set to play a key role in India’s journey in Test cricket from hereon.
Washington Sundar’s debut for India in the whites was purely by chance, but people who manage to make the most of any given opportunity undoubtedly stare at a successful career ahead. After four Tests, the off-spinning all-rounder is perhaps looking forward to a more defined role as a batsman in the side in the future.
The fact that Sundar is pretty handy with the willow was never in question even before he made his way to international cricket.
However, the fact that he can display his skills at the most toughest of situations, in the most demanding of situations, against arguably the best bowling attack in their own backyard, that’s what came as a surprise for many as he put on a fantastic show in the first innings of that game vs the Aussies in Brisbane.
Sundar maintains an average of 66.25 in six innings with three half-centuries to his name in Test cricket so far. In this Indian team, players tend to capitalize on even the slightest of openings available to them. It is undoubtedly a testament to the terrific quality that is flowing through the ranks currently.
Written by Tarkesh Jha. Follow Tarkesh on Twitter today.