Ashish Nehra is clear in what he wants India's bowling attack to look like. (Getty Images)
Ashish Nehra is clear in what he wants India's bowling attack to look like. (Getty Images)

'They can bowl well even on flatter decks': Ashish Nehra picks India's ideal bowling attack for WTC final vs New Zealand

  • Ahead of the big clash to determine the winner of the inaugural World Test Championship title, Ashish Nehra has weighed in on the potential bowling combination India should go ahead with against New Zealand.
By hindustantimes.com, New Delhi
UPDATED ON MAY 22, 2021 07:07 PM IST

We are less than a month away from the all-important final of the World Test Championship in which India will face New Zealand at the Ageas Bowl in Southampton starting June 18. Earlier this month, the BCCI announced a strong 20-member squad that will travel to the UK to play the WTC final and the subsequent five-Test series against hosts England, which marked the returns of Hanuma Vihari, Ravindra Jadeja and Mohammed Shami.

Ahead of the big clash to determine the winner of the inaugural World Test Championship, Ashish Nehra has weighed in on the potential bowling combination India should go ahead with. The former fast bowler, who played 17 Tests for India, feels both countries possess a strong bowling unit, but when it comes to the visitors, the fast-bowling trio of Shami, Ishant Sharma and Jasprit Bumrah have the edge.

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"Of course, both India and New Zealand have very good fast bowlers. But if you look at our bowlers, (Jasprit) Bumrah and (Mohammed) Shami, they can bowl well even on flatter decks. Not just Bumrah and Shami but even Ishant (Sharma) is there. And looking at what he has achieved having played 100 Test matches, his presence is another strong point for India," Nehra told The Telegraph.

Nehra spoke about the possibility of Mohammed Siraj getting a game as well. Siraj has featured in five Test matches for India and had a brilliant outing in the three matches played in Australia. Nehra backed Siraj to be an inclusion if the hosts prepare a green wicket, but otherwise stuck to Bumrah, Ishant and Shami as the three pacers, while backing R Ashwin and Jadeja as the two spinners for the WTC final.

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"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," Nehra added.

The reason behind choosing Jadeja and Ashwin, Nehra reckons, has to do with the fact that both players can bat well. Ashwin has been brilliant with the bat of late, scoring a century against England during the second Test against England in Chennai, and batted out of his skin to save the Sydney Test against Australia. Jadeja's batting stocks on the other hand have been on an all-time high.

"Of course, there's still almost a month left for the final and how each of the quicks fare in practice sessions as well as their fitness levels would also be taken into account before the XI is announced," Nehra said.

"But the advantage of playing with this attack is that Ashwin and Jadeja can contribute with the bat too, and runs scored by the lower order turn out to be priceless. If Jadeja and Ashwin are in the XI, the team will have all bases covered in terms of bowling."

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