The Indian Cricket Team will be up against New Zealand in the inaugural World Test Championship (WTC) Final, which will be played in Southampton from June 18 to June 22. Ahead of the tournament, the selection of the playing XI will be a huge headache for the captain and the team management owing to the immense talent in the team.
Recently, in the absence of frontline bowlers, Mohammed Siraj, Shardul Thakur and Washington Sundar had stepped up and had given magnificent performances in the Australia tour. With Washington unlikely to feature in any of the matches on the three-month long tour due to the preference of Ashwin as the spinner, either of Mohammed Siraj and Shardul Thakur are likely to get a few games.
The playing XI selection conundrum
The first assignment of the management will be to select a perfect playing XI for the WTC Final against New Zealand. There is likely toss-up between Mohammed Siraj and Ishant Sharma for the place of third pacer after Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Shami. With Ishant the frontrunner due to his vast experience, Siraj’s exponential rise is too good to be ignored. Quite handy with the pace and swing, Siraj has emerged to be a better new ball bowler in the team and he also possesses the ability to move the ball both ways through the seam movement.
‘Kyle Jamieson is a good prospect, but he does need a little more experience’
Amidst all this, former Indian pacer Ashish Nehra has predicted India’s playing XI for the all-important final against New Zealand. While speaking to The Telegraph, Nehra praised the fast-bowlers of both teams and also compared them. “Of course, both India and New Zealand have very good fast bowlers. But if you look at our bowlers, (Jasprit) Bumrah and (Mohammed) Shami can bowl well even on flatter decks,” he said.
“New Zealand’s attack, meanwhile, has Trent Boult and Neil Wagner. Boult is a class bowler, while Wagner too is experienced. However, I am not sure how effective will Tim Southee be where there is not enough swing on offer. Kyle Jamieson is a good prospect, but he does need a little more experience,” Nehra told The Telegraph.
‘Ashwin and Jadeja should play to cover all bases’
While predicting India’s playing XI, Nehra asserted that India needs to play both Ashwin and Jadeja to cover all bases. With regards to fast-bowlers, Nehra chose the experienced trio of Ishant, Bumrah and Shami. However, he feels that if the deck consists grass, then India should play four seamers and include Mohammed Siraj.
“If you come across a green top, then you certainly can think of including an extra pacer, which I feel should be Mohammed Siraj given how well he has been bowling. But otherwise, I think the bowling attack should be Ishant, Bumrah and Shami as the three fast bowlers, with (Ravichandran) Ashwin and (Ravindra) Jadeja as the spinners. If Jadeja and Ashwin are in the XI, the team will have all bases covered in terms of bowling,” Nehra concluded.