‘Indian batters don't want to be exposed to Aussie pacers': Engineer 'surprised' by Rohit's ‘bold’ decision in WTC final

Jun 07, 2023 03:46 PM IST

Calling the decision to bowl a 'bold' and a 'surprising' one, Engineer said the Indian batters may not have been comfortable in getting exposed to Aussie pacers

India captain Rohit Sharma won the toss and opted to bowl first on a green track at The Oval for the World Test Championship final against Australia. The overcast conditions also played a major role apart from the grass on the pitch in India's decision to bowl first.

Rohit Sharma and Farokh Engineer
Rohit Sharma and Farokh Engineer

Former India wicketkeeper-batter Farokh Engineer, however, said the biggest reason for India opting to bowl was to protect their top-order.

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Calling the decision a 'bold' and a 'surprising' one, Engineer said the Indian batters may not have been comfortable in getting exposed to the conditions on offer against a potent Australian bowling attack comprising Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc and Scott Boland.

India vs Australia Live Score, WTC Final

"...India winning the toss, the decision (to bowl first) is a bit surprising but I think the decision was taken because our batsmen do not want to be exposed to the Australian attack on a fresh green track," Engineer who is settled in England, told ANI.

"We are hopeful, Mohammed Shami and Mohammed Siraj are effective. I think they will be effective...It's not a bad decision but a bold decision," he added.

VIDEO: Engineer calls Rohit's decision to bowl first in WTC final a ‘bold' and ’surprising' one

Engineer's prediction about Shami and Siraj came true as the Indian new-ball bowlers started off with maidens against David Warner and Usman Khawaja before Siraj bowled a beautiful delivery angling away to find the outside edge of Khawaja's bat in the third over of the match.

Engineer, who represented India in 46 Tests and five ODIs, called Virat Kohli, Cheteshwar Pujara and Shubman Gill as keys in the Indian batting unit when its their turn to bat later on the Test match.

"He (Cheteshwar Pujara) is a key member of the side. So are Virat and Shubman Gill, we have a very good batting lineup. It's a very good all-round side."

India leave out Ashwin, play Jadeja as lone spin-bowling all-rounder

Apart from India's decision to bowl first, another big news from the toss was that they decided to leave out their No.1 spinner Ravichandran Ashwin. This was also because of the conditions. India decided to field four seamers in Siraj, Shami, Shardul Thakur and Umesh Yadav because of the weather and the pitch which meant there was room for only one spinner between Ashwin and Jadeja. The team management went with the left-hander largely because of his batting abilities. This had a lot to do with the absence of India's first-choice keeper-batter Rishabh Pant.

"You have to play good cricket and come out on top. Four seamers and one spinner. The spinner is Jadeja. It's always tough (to leave Ashwin), he's been a match-winner for us over the course of so many years. But you got to do the things that are needed for the team and eventually, we came up with that decision," Rohit said at the toss.

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