Former Australian pace bowler Jason Gillespie felt that India’s playing XI for the World Test Championship (WTC) final against Australia could see their batting depth and bowlers are ideally fit to take 20 wickets as well. The much-awaited contest between the two is all set to be played at the Oval beginning on June 7. However, Gillespie played several matches in English conditions during his time and later became coach of Yorkshire and Sussex in county cricket as well.
In an interview with IANS, the veteran said: “If they want some depth in their batting, they may well go with Thakur. I wouldn’t be against that as I think he’s a very good bowler. I’ve always liked Umesh Yadav. I just love how he runs in hard and hits the pitch hard. He’s got a good bouncer and he bowls with really good airspeed. There’s just a lot to like about him and so I wouldn’t be against India playing him.”
He further added: “It also depends on what the makeup of the middle order looks like. If they feel they need more batting, they may go with Thakur. But ultimately, they’ve got to make a decision with their bowling attack — on what is the lineup that is most likely going to take 20 wickets. That will ultimately decide which way they go, whether they go to the bowling all-rounder or the out-and-out fast bowler.”
With the pitch at the Oval helping spinners more than other pitches in England, Jason Gillespie also felt that India could play both their veteran spinners – Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja in the eleven.
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Gillespie said: “That’s the advantage India have — they can have the wicket-keeper at six, with Jadeja and Ashwin at seven and eight and then pick their best three fast bowlers. That would be a very strong team and there’s no doubt about that because both Jadeja and Ashwin are very fine batters in their own right.”
He shared: “So there’s no reason why India couldn’t go down that path. I would suggest they should pick their best three fast bowlers who they feel are going to make an impact and contribute to taking 20 wickets because Ashwin and Jadeja will contribute to taking those 20 wickets but they’ll also contribute really well with the bat.”
However, India last played at the Oval during the fourth Test of the five-match series against England in 2021-22 as well. There Rohit Sharma’s team took the field with four pacers and Ravindra Jadeja as the only spinner India emerged victorious in the game by a massive 157 runs to take a 2-1 lead in the series, with Jadeja picking up two wickets in each innings as well. And, Jason Gillespie applauded Indian pacer Mohammed Shami and said that the experienced pacer could test the defensive technique as well. He had an impressive IPL season where he won the Purple cap, claiming 28 wickets.
Jason Gillespie again said: “Shami impresses me a lot and I love how he keeps running in hard. He does a wonderful job for India. I love that he presents the seam and releases the ball so well. His wrist and fingers are right behind the ball and you see the seam go all the way down the pitch and he gives the ball a chance to move off the seam. He can swing the ball in the right conditions and can get a little bit of swing.”
It is also noteworthy that Mohammed Shami has an impressive record against Australia, with 40 wickets in 11 Tests, his record in English conditions is stunning as well, with 38 scalps in 13 games which came at an average of 40.52.
“But his seam presentation is as good as anyone in world cricket in my opinion. So I think he’s going to play a big role in those conditions if there is any movement to be found off the pitch. Mohammed Shami can certainly exploit that and he can ask some really good questions of the Australian batters’ defensive techniques because he pitches the ball up and when he looks to just get a little bit of movement, then I think he’s a fine bowler,” Jason Gillespie concluded.