Mumbai, Former India batsman Sanjay Manjrekar has picked only one specialist spinner in Ravichandra Ashwin and dropped pace spearhead Ishant Sharma in his India XI for the World Test Championship (WTC) final against New Zealand starting on June 18.
“I’m assuming you have typical English conditions. I’m assuming there will be a mixture of sun and cloudy cover throughout the five days of the Test match if it goes the distance. So, I’m picking the team accordingly,” Manjrekar said on ESPNCricinfo.com
Between Ravindra Jadeja and Ashwin, Manjrekar has went with the latter even as there is a heated debate on whether both should be in the XI.
The cricketer-turned-commentator has also left out Ishant, and instead opted for Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami and young Mohammed Siraj for a three-pronged pace attack.
“Want Siraj, the swing bowler to be brought into the equation, and the last time Siraj bowled overseas in Australia, got a five-wicket haul. Hard to leave a bowler like him out,” said Manjrekar.
“You will be tempted to think of Siraj because when you look at Shami, Bumrah and Ishant, they are more seam bowlers, hit-the-deck kind of bowler. Siraj might offer something different. I would go with Siraj, but India might play Ishant for obvious reasons.”
Middle-order batsman Hanuma Vihari too finds a place in Manjrekar’s team. The 27-year-old, who is currently playing for county side Warwickshire, had battled through pain to save the third Test against Australia in Sydney this year.
“Going to have Hanuma Vihari to reward him for his brilliant innings before he got injured [in Sydney]. India will need somebody with more compact defensive technique because the guys at the top of the order, barring [Cheteshwar] Pujara, aren’t those kinds,” he said.
“So, I will have Hanuma Vihari at number 6. [Rishabh] Pant at 7, considering India have hardly had any practice game. I just want to make sure the batting runs deep.”
Manjrekar’s India XI: Shubman Gill, Rohit Sharma, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli (c), Ajinkya Rahane, Hanuma Vihari, Rishabh Pant (wk), Ravichandran Ashwin, Mohammed Shami, Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Siraj