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WI Tests: Shami is expected to rest; Pujara is in question

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The first series for India in the 2023–25 World Test Championship cycle will be their trip of the West Indies, however the selection committee is not anticipated to make any adjustments. Only a few players are expected to be rested or benched, according to Cricbuzz, and Rohit Sharma is expected to continue leading India in Test matches for the foreseeable future.

“Each Test matters, as the outcome affects the World Test Championship (WTC) points standings. Concerning the hesitation to start a comprehensive revamp, a source said, “We cannot experiment in a Test match.

For the two Test matches in Dominica and Trinidad, four of the top five batsmen—Rohit, Shubman Gill, Virat Kohli, and Ajinkya Rahane—are guaranteed to keep their spots in the side, but Cheteshwar Pujara’s status is uncertain.

Discussions about India’s veteran No. 3, who has only one century in 52 innings (28 Tests) at a dismal average of 29.69 since 2020, are expected to come up. Even though he has 11 half-centuries to his name, his average falls to 26.31 when his scores of 90 and 102* on the Chittagong Test in December 2022 are taken out.

It may be questioned how he chose his shots overall, not only in the WTC final. The 35-year-old veteran, who has played in 103 Test matches, has not yet been officially confirmed to be excluded from the squad, but his place in the lineup is far from secure. There is no certainty that he will make the starting XI, even if he makes the team. If he is not taken into consideration, Yashasvi Jaiswal can take his place at No. 3 instead.

In addition to discussing Pujara’s position, the selectors may also think about giving Mohammed Shami a break. Since winning the Border-Gavaskar Trophy, the Indian bowling spearhead has allegedly been overworked. Before the WTC final, he also participated in 17 IPL games, which is the maximum that can be played in a season. In light of the World Cup later this year, the seasoned fast bowler might make a comeback for the ODIs that come after the two Test matches.

Recently, Mohammed Siraj has also taken on a lot of responsibility, thus he is probably also the subject of conversation. Siraj, one of the pacers who has recently made the most progress, may travel with the team but may only play a limited number of innings to stay in condition for the limited-overs competitions later in the year, such the Asia Cup and the World Cup.

Arshdeep Singh and Umran Malik are also probably going to be on the team. The latter, who played for SunRisers Hyderabad in only 8 of the team’s 14 games this season, will be recalled to the national team, however it is unknown if Tests, ODIs, or T20Is would be on the table for him.

KS Bharat, the Andhra Pradesh wicketkeeper, may continue to be a member of the Test squad despite his underwhelming batting display at the Oval. Sanju Samson, who is well-known for his skills but not his reliability, might return in the ODI and T20I squads alongside Ishan Kishan. The seniors won’t be in the team for the five T20Is, and Hardik Pandya will serve as captain as usual.

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