Former India cricketer Sanjay Manjrekar has named his playing XI for the national side ahead of the ICC World Test Championship (WTC) Final against New Zealand.
India and New Zealand are set to face each other at the all-important clash from June 18 to June 22 at the Ageas Bowl, Southampton.
The cricketer-turned-commentator picked seven batsmen including Rishabh Pant to tackle the bowling-friendly conditions of England. Manjrekar picked Hanuma Vihari at number six ahead of all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja, owing to the former’s brilliant grit seen against Australia during the Sydney Test. He mentioned that the Virat Kohli-led side would have practised much less ahead of the WTC Final, so, they must pick an extra batsman.
“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.
“Going to have Hanuma Vihari to reward him for his brilliant innings before he got injured. India will need somebody with a more compact defensive technique. Because the guys at the top of the order barring Pujara aren’t that kind. So I will have Hanuma Vihari at number 6. Pant at 7, considering India have hardly had any practice game. I just want to make sure the batting runs deep,” Sanjay Manjrekar said in a video on ESPNcricinfo.
Manjrekar picks Siraj ahead of Ishant Sharma
The former cricketer left out veteran pacer Ishant Sharma to include in-form Mohammed Siraj in the playing XI. Sanjay Manjrekar mentioned that it’s hard for the team management to leave out a bowler like him. Apart from Siraj, the 55-year old went with Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Shami as the other two speedsters along with Ravi Ashwin as the lone spinner on the side.
“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. 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,” Manjrekar signed off.
Sanjay Manjrekar’s Indian playing XI for WTC Final:
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