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Suryakumar Yadav left out of India’s WTC final squad but outrageous choice for ‘X-factor’ for summit clash

In the next fortnight, the focus of world cricket will shift completely from the thrilling IPL 2023 season to the traditional format of the game as India take on Australia for the World Test Championship title at The Oval from June 7.

Discussions on the day’s lineup, possible playing XI and result predictions are slowly building, with Australian great Ricky Ponting kicking off the proceedings. On Friday, he expressed surprise at Suryakumar Yadav’s omission from the Indian Test squad, but made an outrageous choice for the ‘X-factor’ for the summit clash.

With India looking to capitalize on his T20 form and Shreyas Iyer’s injury offering that leadership opportunity, Suryakumar got his Test cap earlier this year in the Border-Gavaskar Trophy series. However, he failed to impress in the one chance he did get and was later dropped from the original squad for the WTC finals. The 32-year-old was later added to the squad as a backup player alongside Ruturaj Gaikwad and Mukesh Kumar.

Asked if Suryakumar should have been part of the main squad, Ponting said “yes” as he admitted he was surprised by the omission. However, the former Australia captain pointed to a Rishabh Pant-like player in the Indian team and hailed him as the “X-factor” for the WTC finals.

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