India and New Zealand on Friday will lock horns in the first-ever World Championship title match in Test cricket in the 144-year history of the traditional format of the game. The much-awaited World Test Championship (WTC) final between two potent line-ups is set to start half an hour early.
The titular clash at the Hampshire Bowl was scheduled to begin at 3:30 PM IST but an altercation in timings will start the Test at 3:00 PM IST. Virat Kohli and Kane Williamson will walk out for the toss at 2:30 PM itself and the day's play would wrap up around 10:00 PM IST.
Earlier in the day, India announced their XI featuring three seamers and two spin-bowling options. On expected lines, the team picked two specialist spinners in Ravindra Jadeja and R Ashwin, who are also more than handy with the bat. On the pace front, the management went with senior pacer Ishant Sharma over young Mohammed Siraj, given the overcast conditions in England.
Rohit Sharma and Shubman Gill were picked at the top, followed by the dependable Cheteshwar Pujara-Kohli-Ajinkya Rahane trio in the team's batting set-up. Rishabh Pant was been assigned wicketkeeping duties ahead of Wriddhiman Saha while Hanuma Vihari failed to make the cut.
Skipper Kohli also took off some pressure from his teammates as he said that the WTC Final wouldn't decide the best team in the world.
"We are not looking at one Test match that begins tomorrow. We are looking at all the six Test matches that we have to play in England," said Kohli in the virtual pre-match press conference.
Williamson also said that he's not reading too much into the favourites tag given to his side.
"It's exciting but for us, it's just focusing on continuing that growth and trying to keep committing to the parts of our game that give us the best chance and that's where I know the guys will be focusing on. We are trying to look at the long game and try and improve all the time," said the Kiwis captain.
India XI for WTC Final: Rohit Sharma, Shubman Gill, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli (captain), Ajinkya Rahane, Rishabh Pant (wicketkeeper), Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin, Jasprit Bumrah, Ishant Sharma, Mohammed Shami.