Jadeja or Ashwin? Or both? Bharat or Kishan? Kaif picks India's WTC final XI vs Australia

Jun 03, 2023 07:26 AM IST

The former India star picked his XI for the WTC Final ahead of the game, that starts on June 7.

India captain Rohit Sharma and the support staff led by head coach Rahul Dravid are set to have a headache or two while finalising India's XI for the World Test Championship (WTC) final against Australia slated to begin at The Oval on June 7. India's top five more or less pick themselves. It's from No.6 onwards that the confusion starts.

Ravindra Jadeja and R Ashwin (PTI)
Ravindra Jadeja and R Ashwin (PTI)

Firstly, should India pick Ishan Kishan or KS Bharat as their wicketkeeper? Should they pick both Ravindra Jadeja and Ravichandran Ashwin? But what if the pitch and the conditions at The Oval demand more pacers? In that case, can they play both Shardul Thakur and Umesh Yadav? Then who sits out between Jadeja and Ashwin? Is Jaydev Unadkat fit enough to play as a fourth seamer?

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In the last WTC final, India ignored the conditions and decided to field their best possible XI with both Jadeja and Ashwin in it. They paid the price. The overcast and damp conditions demanded an extra seamer, who wasn't there to help out Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami and Ishant Sharma.

Former India cricketer Mohammed Kaif, therefore, believes the conditions should determine India's choice for the fifth bowler. Kaif had no doubts in mind that India should go with Ishan Kishan as their keeper-batter with Ravindra Jadeja as the guaranteed spin-bowling all-rounder 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 who makes his return to the team. I would play Ishan Kishan over KS Bharat because you would want someone to play attacking shots at number six, because the ball is old and Rishabh Pant used to play that role. At seven, I will play Jadeja," Kaif told Star Sports ahead of the summit clash.

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

"At eight I would either play Ashwin or Shardul, depending on the pitch conditions, and if the pitch suits spin then Ashwin can target the left-handed batsmen like Warner, Travis Head and Khawaja, so it will be a good match-up. I would take fast bowlers Mohammed Shami, Mohammed Siraj followed by Umesh Yadav at number 11. This would be my preferred playing 11 because it’s early June, you will need three fast bowlers plus Jadeja and Ashwin or Shardul, depending on the forecast," he added.

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