Jatin ∙ Updated: Jun 8 2023, 3:56 PM | 4 Min Read

Top 5 Most Impactful Players In Buildup to WTC Final

image-lifztrx7Joe Root has batted sensationally in the WTC Cycle 2021-23 (Twitter)

As the curtains draw near on a remarkable two-year span decorated with historic cricketing tours, shattered records, and the introduction of the exhilarating phenomenon known as 'Bazball,' the grand culmination of the World Test Championship (WTC) awaits its followers.

The much-anticipated finale, scheduled to take place at The Oval in London on June 7, shall witness a fascinating clash between the cricketing powerhouses of Indian and Australia. Throughout this enthralling WTC cycle, numerous players have showcased their prowess with awe-inspiring performances.

While the batters have amassed runs aplenty, the bowlers have also enthralled with their magnificent knack for taking crucial wickets. However, there are some players who have created a massive impact during the ongoing WTC cycle spanning from 2021 to 2023.

In this listicle, we take a look at the top five most impactful players of the current WTC cycle 2021-23.

5. Ravichandran Ashwin

R Ashwin has showcased exceptional performance in the ongoing WTC cycle 2021-23. In just 13 games, he has managed to grab 61 wickets at an outstanding average of 19.67 and a strike-rate of 47.5. Although Ashwin faced a slight slump in form during India's challenging tour to South Africa in early 2022, he quickly regained his rhythm and made a roaring comeback.

image-lido4rmcRavichandran Ashwin (ICC Twitter)

The veteran spinner performed brilliantly in series against Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, re-establishing his dominance. However, it was during the 2023 Border-Gavaskar Trophy against Australia that he truly made a massive impact, earning the well-deserved title of "Player of the Series" for picking 25 wickets across four games. 

Ashwin's remarkable contribution extends beyond his bowling as he amassed an impressive total of 444 runs during the World Test Championship cycle.

4. Ravindra Jadeja

Jadeja's batting has shone through in the WTC cycle with 673 runs in just 12 matches, averaging an impressive 37.38. He has recorded two centuries and three half-centuries, showcasing his ability to consistently contribute with the bat. 

Equally formidable is Jadeja's bowling, with 43 wickets at an average of 23.23 and an economy rate of 2.40. Notably, Jadeja has accomplished a remarkable 10-wicket haul and three five-wicket hauls during the period, highlighting his ability to dismantle batting lineups.

image-lido444xRavindra Jadeja (ICC Twitter)

Moreover, despite a setback due to a right knee injury in the latter half of 2022, Jadeja made a resounding comeback. 

The southpaw also achieved significant milestones during the ongoing WTC cycle, including his highest Test score of an unbeaten 175 against Sri Lanka and his career-best bowling figures of 7-42 against Australia.

3. Travis Head

image-lido3ikbTravis Head (ICC Twitter)

Head has left a lasting impact during the WTC cycle with his explosive performances and has emerged as one of the most destructive middle-order batters. Having played 17 matches, Head has accumulated an impressive total of 1,208 runs at an average of 52.52. His attacking style sets him apart as a potent force in the middle overs. 

Notable innings, such as his 152 off 148 against England in Brisbane, 101 off 113 against the same opponent in Hobart, 92 off 96 against South Africa in Brisbane, and an unbeaten 49 off 53 against India in Indore showcased Head's ability to thrive in difficult situations. 

2. Usman Khawaja

image-lido30asUsman Khawaja (ICC Twitter)

Khawaja secures the second spot on the list with astounding statistics that reflect his scintillating form. In 16 matches, Khawaja has scored a remarkable 1,608 runs at an exceptional average of 69.91. The opener's return to the Australian XI for the 2022 New Year's Test marked the beginning of a phenomenal run for him. He made an emphatic statement with twin centuries against England in Sydney and continued his prolific run by reaching three figures against Pakistan (twice), South Africa at home, and in India.

Notably, the southpaw opener's tour of Pakistan in early 2022 was prolific as he amassed a staggering 496 runs at an incredible average of 165.33. Although a couple of dismissals in the 90s were the only blemish in an otherwise faultless series, Khawaja's performance was nothing short of exceptional. His contributions have been instrumental in shaping Australia's success in the WTC cycle 2021-23.

1. Joe Root

image-lido2k0vJoe Root (ICC Twitter)

The former English captain displayed exceptional form throughout the WTC cycle 2021-23, making a significant impact with his outstanding batting performances. His numbers during this period are truly astounding. 

In 22 matches, he amassed an impressive 1,915 runs at a brilliant average of 53.19 to go with eight hundreds and six fifties. Root's home Test record during the WTC cycle is particularly remarkable. He notched six centuries in England's home matches, including two match-winning fourth-innings tons. 

Root's unbeaten 115 against New Zealand at Lord's and 142 not out against India in Birmingham played crucial roles in securing victories for the team. Even during England's disastrous Test tour to the West Indies, Root emerged as one of the few positives. 

The impact created by Root’s exceptional batting performances throughout the period received widespread praise from the cricketing fraternity.