Kohli among first batch of players heading to WTC finals

Kohli’s Royal Challengers Bangalore teammate Mohammad Siraj will also board the same flight, a day after their team dropped out of the IPL. Spinners R. Ashwin and Aksar Patel, all-rounder Shardul Thakur and the team’s support staff led by Rahul Dravid will also fly on the same flight.

Two other players who complete the first list of seven cricketers are Kolkata Knight Riders paceman Umesh Yadav and Lucknow Super Giants player Jaidev Unadkat, who is recovering from a shoulder injury.

The finals will be played at the Oval from June 7-11.

There will be two or three outings in all. The first game leaves tomorrow at 4:30 a.m., said a source at BCCI.

The seven players who will remain in India for the IPL playoffs include skipper Rohit Sharma, Ravindra Jadeja, Ishan Kishan, Shubman Gill, Mohammad Shami, K S Bharat and Ajinkya Rahane.

Cheteshwar Pujara is already playing county cricket in England and will join the team in London.

It should be noted that India will not be playing any warm-up games as the England County Championship is underway and also that this is an ICC event, the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) is not required to arrange practice matches for the visiting team.

In addition, if we play against a select county team, it will consist mostly of players from the second team or development team, as players from the first team are not released for the duration of the championship. Playing against a weak team is not conducive to quality coaching, a source at BCCI told PTI on condition of anonymity.

While most players on the Indian team enter the title game after two months in the IPL, only three Australians in the WTC have played in the richest T20 league.

Last week, the great Ricky Ponting said the Aussies would be psychologically better prepared for the final, but the Indians would have valuable playing time under their belt.

There are two ways to look at this. It’s better for someone like Virat to play now, score consistently and be confident before the game than with the Australians at home, who haven’t played much cricket, but will be better prepared mentally, Ponting said.

India, runners-up in 2021, will be looking to win their first ICC trophy in 10 years.

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