There is no denying the fact that Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin, and Axar Patel played a crucial role for India as they clinched the Border-Gavaskar Trophy by a 2-1 margin with captain Rohit Sharma also being a contender. Ashwin ended up as the highest wicket-taker with 25 scalps while Jadeja and Nathan Lyon were the joint second with 22 wickets. Axar picked just three wickets but he amassed 264 runs in five innings at an average of 88.
But now with the focus shifting to the WTC final against Australia set to be played at The Oval on June 7, the Indian team will have to come up with a different plan. They will have to find other heroes. It is certain that Axar won’t feature in the XI. He, in fact, would be lucky if he finds himself a part of the WTC final squad. Veteran India wicket-keeper batter Dinesh Karthik believes seam-bowling all-rounder Shardul Thakur will most likely take his place in the Indian XI for the WTC final.
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Talking about the same during a chat with Cricbuzz, Dinesh Karthik said, “To be brutally honest if everybody is fit, especially if Ashwin and Jadeja are fit, you will have to say that Axar will miss out. I think Shardul will take his place.”
Karthik stated that it might even be difficult for Ashwin and Jadeja to play in the XI considering the conditions. Dinesh Karthik said if the pitch on offer is more suited to the pacers and the conditions are overcast at that point in time, which is most likely to be the case, then the Indian team management should not shy away from picking only among Ashwin and Jadeja.
Explaining the same, Dinesh Karthik said, “Absolutely (India might play either Ashwin or Jadeja). To be honest, that’s where the Indian team made a mistake last time playing both spinners and they didn’t bowl them much. It’s a year-end match for a lot of the players in many ways as after that there will be a fresh cycle. So you have to go into the match thinking ‘what is my best XI to win that game?’ If that means leaving Ashwin or Jadeja out, so be it.”
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In the WTC final against New Zealand, India announced their playing XI featuring both Ashwin and Jadeja a day before the game and did not change the team despite the expected overcast conditions at The Oval. The decision did not pan out well as the match was dominated by seamers with Ashwin and Jadeja having little to do.
Karthik also added that wicket-keeper batter KS Bharat will be under the scanner following a below-par series at home against Australia with the bat and the gloves.