Jadeja or Ashwin? Or both? Bharat or Kishan? Kaif picks India’s WTC final

India captain Rohit Sharma and the support staff led by head coach Rahul Dravid are set to have a headache or two while finalizing India’s XI for the World Test Championship (WTC) final against Australia which starts on June 7 at The Oval . India’s top five more or less self-selecting. It is from no. 6 that the confusion begins.

Ravindra Jadeja and R Ashwin (PTI)

First, should India pick Ishan Kishan or KS Bharat as their wicket keeper? Should they pick both Ravindra Jadeja and Ravichandran Ashwin? But what if the pitch and the conditions at The Oval call for more pacemen? In that case, can they play both Shardul Thakur and Umesh Yadav? So who sits between Jadeja and Ashwin? Is Jaydev Unadkat fit enough to play as a fourth seamer?

In the last WTC final, India ignored the conditions and decided to field their best possible XI with both Jadeja and Ashwin. They paid the price. The cloudy and damp conditions required an extra seamer, who was not there to help Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami and Ishant Sharma.

Former Indian cricketer Mohammed Kaif therefore believes the conditions should determine India’s choice for the fifth bowler. Kaif had no doubt in mind that India should go with Ishan Kishan as their wicket-keeper batsman with Ravindra Jadeja as the guaranteed spinner at No.6.

“For the World Test Championship, the openers should be Shubhman Gill and Rohit Sharma, followed by Pujara who plays at number three and has experience there. At number four would be Virat Kohli followed by Rahane making his return to the team. I will play Ishan Kishan over KS Bharat because you want someone to play attacking strokes at number six because the ball is old and Rishabh Pant has played that role. At seven I will play Jadeja,” Kaif told Star Sports ahead of the summit.

The battle for the No.8 spot will be between Ashwin and Shardul Thakur, depending on the conditions and weather, Kaif said.

“At eight I would play either Ashwin or Shardul depending on the pitch conditions and if the pitch just turns, Ashwin can target the left-handed batsmen like Warner, Travis Head and Khawaja, so it will be a good game. I will take fast bowlers Mohammed Shami, Mohammed Siraj followed by Umesh Yadav at number 11. That would be my preferred XI because it is early June, you will need three fast bowlers plus Jadeja and Ashwin or Shardul, depending on the forecast,” he added.

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Source: Hindustan Times

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