Team India are set to kick-start their journey in the World Test Championship (WTC) 2023-25 cycle, hoping to go all the way after playing in the previous two finals, and finishing second best. It was a heartbreak for the Indian team led by Virat Kohli as they lost to New Zealand in Southampton back in 2021, whereas Australia shattered Indian hearts as they prevailed at the Oval in the 2023 WTC final.
Rohit Sharma is set to lead the Indian team during their first assignment of the next WTC cycle as they take on West Indies in a two-match Test series scheduled next month.
The BCCI on Friday, June 23 revealed India’s squad for the West Indies tour, and some big changes were expected after the failure in the WTC final. Cheteshwar Pujara was dropped, and some youngsters such as Yashasvi Jaiswal and Ruturaj Gaikwad were included in the Test squad.
As the Indian team prepare for a new dawn in red-ball cricket, here are six players who are likely to make their India debut in the WTC 2023-25 cycle:
It has been a steady rise to the top for Yashasvi Jaiswal who has come a long way from the Azaad Maidaan of Mumbai. The youngster was part of India’s squad for the WTC final, and he is set to travel to West Indies as well.
While it remains to be seen whether Jaiswal gets the chance to show his attacking prowess, it will be difficult to keep out a player who averages more than 80 in his 26 first-class matches.
Before his stellar IPL 2023 season, the youngster top-scored in the Irani Cup with totals of 213 and 144 against Madhya Pradesh.
While there has been a lot of talk regarding Sarfaraz Khan and his fitness – a player who has an average of 79.65, which is the second highest after the great Don Bradman among players with at least 50 innings – he will get his chance to shine very soon if he continues to set the domestic stage on fire.
There are still some flaws in his technique which need to be ironed out, but with 13 hundreds to his name, the Mumbai batter who is still only 25, has all the qualities to be a mainstay in the Indian team.
Having caught the eye during a breakthrough IPL 2021 season, Ruturaj Gaikwad managed to make his India debut in white-ball formats and has recently been included in the red-ball fold as well. His has been a steady rise and his numbers in first-class cricket are a testament to that.
An average of 42.19 after 28 first-class games isn’t the most promising but during the 2022-23 season, he managed to score over 50 throughout the Ranji Trophy’s previous edition and if given a consistent run in the side, he could be a very handy contributor.
At his best, the youngster has made batting look like an art, he played plenty of handful knocks for Mumbai Indians in IPL 2023, and despite missing the last season of the Ranji Trophy through injury, there have been plenty of promising signs already.
Varma has earned plaudits for his technique, and high praise from some legends such as Rohit Sharma and Sachin Tendulkar and he also showed flashes of his brilliance during his stellar performances against New Zealand A when the youngster notched his maiden first-class ton.
A consistent performer for India A, and the oldest of the lot, Easwaran made his first-class debut back in 2013 and in the past three years, he has earned a name as one of the premier red-ball cricket players in India. The 28-year-old has racked up a tally of 6556 runs in 150 innings that too at a stunning average of 47.85.
While he doesn’t play in IPL, Abhimanyu has been challenging himself by playing on tough tracks as he plays in the Dhaka Premier League, Bangladesh’s premier List-A tournament, and he has also had stints in county cricket. It’s only a matter of time before his exploits pay off.
The Bengal pacer has been cutting his teeth showing plenty of promise while he played for Delhi Capitals in IPL 2023, in red-ball cricket, he has a reputation as a tireless pacer known for his consistent line and lengths. He has been included in the fold for the West Indies series, having featured regularly for India A for the past two years.
As far as his numbers are concerned, Mukesh has 149 wickets in 39 first-class matches having helped Bengal reach the final of the Ranji Trophy in 2019-20 and in 2022-23 as well. During his stint with India A, the 29-year-old has 18 wickets to show and he will be gunning to make his bow on Caribbean soil.