Team India captain Rohit Sharma faces a challenging decision between Ishan Kishan and KS Bharat for the one keeper-batter slot in the WTC Final against Australia at the Oval in London. Former India coach Ravi Shastri recently shared his opinion on the matter. In an interview with Star Sports, as quoted by ESPNcricinfo, Shastri highlighted that the decision would depend on the playing conditions. If India opts for both bowling all-rounders Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja, then KS Bharat might be chosen. However, if the conditions favor four pacers in the playing XI, then Ishan Kishan might make his debut.
“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,” explained Ravi Shastri.
Shastri drew upon the previous experience when he was the head coach of the team during India’s inaugural final against New Zealand in Southampton around two years ago. At that time, India had to decide between playing either Jadeja or Ashwin, both, or an extra batter in Hanuma Vihari. The team ultimately selected both all-rounders but ended up losing the rain-affected match by eight wickets.
Based on that experience, Shastri emphasized the importance of analyzing the conditions and selecting the final XI accordingly.
“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,” said Ravi Shastri. “You’ve got to pick a team that suits the conditions. Last time in Southampton, the weather was really overcast.”
Irrespective of choosing between Bharat or Kishan, Shastri provided a list of 12 players, from which the final 11 would be selected for the one-off Test against Australia.
“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,” he added.
“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,” Ravi Shastri concluded.
The WTC Final is scheduled to take place from 7-11 June, with the 12th day kept as a reserve.