'He will be joining the Indian team' - IPL star becomes late inclusion to India's WTC contingent
At the heels of IPL 2023, the build-up towards India's marquee World Test Championship (WTC) final clash with Australia has picked up steam. Multiple members of the senior Test team, not part of the premier T20 tournament's final scheduled on Sunday (May 28), are already in UK to get used to the conditions in England before taking on the arch-rivals at The Oval from June 7.
Keeping in mind the series of injuries, Indian selectors had named an enlarged squad with multiple backups for the prestigious assignment. The Rohit Sharma-led side will be travelling with a number of options available in each department, ensuring the team retains a strong outlook before locking horns with the mighty Aussies.
The plan, however, has faced a bump as one of the critical backups Ruturaj Gaikwad, the in-form Chennai Super Kings (CSK) opener, has informed the team management he won't be able to tour UK until June 5 due to his wedding. While the WTC final is scheduled for two days later, Gaikwad's late departure has forced the think-tank to rope in an adequate replacement.
The scenario is learnt to have paved way for another bright young opener Yashasvi Jaiswal to make the trip to London after enjoying unprecedented highs with the bat in IPL 2023 for Rajasthan Royals (RR). Notably, Jaiswal, a childhood prodigy from Mumbai, had also been in tremendous form during the first-class season prior to the IPL and also aced India A's tour of Bangladesh late last year.
Gaikwad's marriage gives Jaiswal entry to WTC plans
As per a report in the Indian Express, since Gaikwad has informed coach Rahul Dravid of his unavailability and late departure to England, the team management and selectors have identified Jaiswal for inclusion in their backup arsenal. A BCCI official confirmed the development under conditions of anonymity.
"He (Jaiswal) will be joining the Indian team as Gaikwad has informed us that he won’t be able to fly due to his marriage. He would be able to join the team post-June 5," the board official told Indian Express. "(But) Coach Rahul Dravid took a call, asking the selectors to pick a replacement. So, Jaiswal will now fly to London soon."
Notably, Jaiswal has been on an incredible rise in the past six months with the bat. The young left-hander, with a solid base and technique, made 315 runs in five matches of this winter's Ranji campaign for Mumbai at an average of 45. The 21-year-old backed it up with a century during India A's tour of Bangladesh.
In retrospect, it was a prelude to a bumper IPL 2023 where Jaiswal elevated his limited-overs range and powerhitting skills to another level, finishing with an eye-catching 625 runs in 14 innings at a strike-rate of 163.61.
The robust young cricketer could be travelling with the next batch of Indian players to leave for UK after the final of IPL 2023 on May 28 alongside skipper Rohit Sharma and Ishan Kishan. Suryakumar Yadav, who has requested a two-day break, will depart for England on May 30 with Mohammad Shami, Shubman Gill and Ravindra Jadeja, who will be busy with IPL 2023 final duties.