After IPL 2023 heartbreak, Virat Kohli among eight Indian stars to leave for England on Tuesday for WTC final: Report
With IPL over, Kohli and seven other Indian players will be heading to England to gear up for the big clash against Australia at The Oval.
It wasn't the IPL season that Virat Kohli dreamt about, or has long dreamt about. Royal Challengers Bangalore, in fact, incurred one of their worst finishes on points table since 2019, when they had finished last. Hence, in his 16th IPL season, Kohli was once again denied the elusive trophy that has long eluded him. But focus now shifts to World Test Championship, and the 33-year-old has a chance to make it right what India had missed in the 2021 final against New Zealand. With IPL over, Kohli and seven other Indian players will be heading to England to gear up for the big clash against Australia at The Oval.
According to Sportstar, Kohli will be accompanied by his RCB teammate Mohammed Siraj after the team were knocked out from the race to the playoffs on Sunday by Gujarat Titans. Spinners Ravichandran Ashwin and Axar Patel, all-rounder Shardul Thakur and pacers Umesh Yadav and Jaydev Unadkat will also be on the same flight.
Unadkat and Umesh were out with injuries during the IPL 2023 season with Lucknow Super Giants, who made the playoffs on Saturday, having replaced the former. According to the report, both the pacers have passed the fitness test at the National Cricket Academy.
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Meanwhile, Mukesh Kumar, who is part of the reserve list, is also part of the first batch of Indian players to leave for England. India are also taking three more pacers as net bowlers for the WTC final - Aniket Choudhary, Akash Deep and Yarra Prithviraj - who have been picked by BCCI's selection panel.
Cheteshwar Pujara is already in England as he playing County Cricket for Sussex and has been in an stunning form having scored a couple of centuries as a skipper for the club.
The remaining players - Rohit Sharma, Ishan Kishan, Shubman Gill, Mohammad Shami, K S Bharat and Ajinkya Rahane - will only head to England after their IPL duties.
While most Indian players have been involved in the two-month long IPL 2023 season, only three WTC-bound Australians were part of the league. Last week, former Australia captain Ricky Ponting had pointed out the same saying that the Aussies will be mentally better prepared for the final than the Indians.
"There are two ways to look at this. For someone like Virat, is he better off playing now and scoring runs at a consistent basis and have confidence going into a game rather than the Australians back home who haven't been playing much cricket but will be mentally better prepared," Ponting had said.
This is the second time India have reached the WTC final. They had lost to the Kane Williamson-led side in the 2021 final at the Lord's. A win would also mean a first ever ICC trophy for the Indian team since their Champions Trophy haul in 2013 under the leadership of MS Dhoni.