Led by Rohit Sharma, Team India will commence their World Test Championship (WTC) 2025 cycle while marking their transition phase in red-ball cricket. They take on a battered West Indies in a two-Test series starting Wednesday.
India play their first Test following their loss to Australia in the WTC Final, while West Indies were embarrassingly eliminated from the ODI World Cup qualifiers recently. Both teams have various challenges they must overcome and will be eager to do so.
Young talented left handed batter Yashasvi Jaiswal is expected to make his debut for India, after his impressive performance in domestic cricket across all formats. Averaging over 80 in his initial 26 first class innings, his standout moment was when he scored 265 in the second innings of the Duleep Trophy final last year. He also had an impressive year in white-ball cricket, scoring 625 runs in the 2023 IPL at an average of 48 and a highly impressive strike rate of 163.61.
Jaiswal was previously part of the stand-by squad for India’s World Test Championship 2023 final against Australia and now seems set to make his debut. With veteran Cheteshwar Pujara out of the team, a spot at number 3 has opened up, which Jaiswal will likely fill. However, as he typically plays as an opener, it remains to be seen if Shubhman Gill will drop down to number 3 or continue opening alongside skipper Rohit Sharma.
The spotlight will also be on the experienced trio of Rohit, Virat Kohli, and Ajinkya Rahane, who are approaching the late stages of their respective careers. Rohit’s captaincy has faced severe criticism from former cricketers, despite shining with the bat on numerous occasions. A strong showing in the Caribbean as a batsman and captain would give him the much-needed confidence for the ODI World Cup.
Kohli has struggled with his batting form in Test cricket recently, averaging below 30 in the last few matches. The 34-year-old will aim to regain his form and continue serving Indian cricket for an extended period. Rahane, who earned his place in the team after a strong display in the WTC Final, scoring 89 and 46 while batting at number 5, seeks to maintain his good form. At 35, he is prepared to support Rohit Sharma once again, having previously deputised for him during parts of 2021 and 2022.
The selection of the wicketkeeper-batsman is another intriguing aspect. It remains to be seen if Srikar Bharat retains his position or if India gives a debut to Ishan Kishan. While Bharat is a superior option behind the stumps, his batting lacks confidence, whereas Kishan brings an aggressive intent with the bat. Meanwhile, in the bowling department, a slot remains open, as Mohammed Shami has requested to be rested for the series against the West Indies.