Former England captain Nasser Hussain picked his combined playing XI out of the squads from India and Australia before the World Test Championship (WTC) Final. They will play for Test cricket’s ultimate prize at The Oval in London from June 7 onwards. Hussain’s combined team comprises seven Australian players and the rest are from India. He opted for a left-hand-right-hand combination at the top in the form of the veteran duo of Rohit Sharma and Usman Khawaja as well while the former was nominated to lead the team as well.
Explaining why the in-form Shubman Gill failed to make the cut, Hussain said to ICC Review: “Rohit Sharma, very easy, top of the order and captain for me. I love the way Rohit captains. I’d like to have Shubman (Gill) in but I think it’s just a little bit early for him to break into my combined XI, so I’m going to go with Usman Khawaja to open the batting.”
He then chose a formidable middle order with Marnus Labuschagne, Virat Kohli, and Steve Smith as the backbone of the batting unit. Admitting that Rishabh Pant would have been his first-choice wicket-keeper if he was available for selection. However, India have two wicket-keeping options – KS Bharat and Ishan Kishan, with Rishabh Pant and KL Rahul currently injured, they will have to make do with rookie options as well.
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Hussain said: “Wicketkeeper is a bit hard because of the injury to Rishabh Pant. I would just have him in straight away, no questions asked, but he’s not there. He’s injured, unfortunately. India is still trying to work out which one they’re going to play, so I’m going to go with Alex Carey as my keeper at seven. If the World Test Championship Final was in the subcontinent or India, I might go Jadeja at six. But I’m not, because it’s in England. I’m going to go for a bowling all-rounder, seam-bowler in Cameron Green. That’s who I want as my all-rounder.”
Choosing R Ashwin as his lead spinner over Nathan Lyon and picking a pace trio of Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc, and Mohammed Shami, Hussain concluded: “(Pat) Cummins at nine, easy choice. (Mitchell) Starc at 10 to give me that left-arm variation. Mohammed Shami, just so that we can have so many replays of his seam position going down.”
WTC Final: Nasser Hussain’s combined India-Australia playing XI:
Rohit Sharma (c), Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Steve Smith, Virat Kohli, Cameron Green, Alex Carey (wk), Ravichandran Ashwin, Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc, Mohammad Shami