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Bowling combination could decide who between Bharat and Kishan plays in WTC final: Shastri

Last updated on 02 Jun 2023 | 06:11 AM
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Bowling combination could decide who between Bharat and Kishan plays in WTC final: Shastri

Ishan Kishan is yet to make his Test debut, while KS Bharat has featured in only four games

KS Bharat or Ishan Kishan - India have to decide who will be their wicketkeeper in the World Test Championship final (June 7-12) against Australia and former head coach Ravi Shastri believes it could all boil down to conditions at The Oval.

The 61-year-old feels India could go with Bharat if they opt to play both Ravindra Jadeja and R Ashwin but Kishan might come into play if the team management decides to go with four seamers and one spinner. 

Kishan is yet to make his Test debut, while Bharat has featured in only four games, scoring 101 runs in six innings at an average of 20.20. In the recent Test series against Australia, Bharat was preferred over Kishan but the 29-year-old didn’t look too convincing with the bat. He even made a couple of silly mistakes behind the stumps.

"I have a feeling that India might just go with, depending on who's playing - if two spinners are playing, maybe KS Bharat, but if there are four seamers and one spinner playing, then it'll go the other way, it might go Ishan Kishan's way,” Shastri told Star Sports.

Shastri, who was India’s head coach when Virat Kohli and his men lost to New Zealand in the last WTC final in Southampton, said conditions play a significant role in team selection in England. India will also have to take a call on if they want to go with two spinners or play four fast bowlers.

"When you look at the WTC, if I remember from the last time India were in the final, what you learn from that game is very important. You've got to pick a team that suits the conditions. Last time in Southampton, the weather was really overcast. Hence I'll pick my 12,” said Shastri.

"And my 12 will be very clear. It will be Rohit (Sharma), Shubman (Gill), (Cheteshwar) Pujara at three, Virat Kohli at four, Ajinkya Rahane five (…) Six will be Jadeja, seven will be Mohammed Shami, eight will be (Mohammed) Siraj, nine will be Shardul Thakur, the eleventh will be Ashwin and the twelfth will be Umesh Yadav. So this will be my twelve.

"And then, depending on the conditions, if four seamers are playing, then it'll be Umesh and Shardul who'll play with Siraj and Shami. But if two spinners are playing, which should be the case at The Oval, seeing what the weather is existing in England at the moment, where it's nice and sunny at times, then it will be Ashwin, Jadeja, Shardul, Shami and Siraj."

Most Test matches at The Oval have been played in August and September, with only eight starting in July. In fact, this is the first time a Test is being played here in June. Australia’s assistant coach Daniel Vettori said Ashwin would be a certain-starter in most teams and The Oval surface could still offer something to spinners as the game goes on.

"We have been debating that. I think Jadeja will play because of the batting he brings to the table and how successful he has been at that No. 6 position. Then the question will be around that fourth seamer and the allrounder in Thakur and Ashwin, but they are (both) pretty good choices,” said Vettori.

"Ashwin is an incredible bowler and he will be the first choice in most teams, and just with their combinations, it may lead to that (him missing selection). We expect The Oval to behave how it always behaves. It is a good wicket, but it can offer a lot to the spinners as the game goes on."

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