Former cricketer Sanjay Manjrekar picked his ideal Indian team for the World Test Championship final against New Zealand. India have already named a 15-member squad for the summit clash, where the likes of Shardul Thakur, KL Rahul and Axar Patel failed to grab the spot.
New Zealand are high on confidence after beating England in the Test series recently as they have already adapted to the conditions. Meanwhile, India played just an intra-squad match as part of preparation.
Manjrekar said that that he has picked his team after assessing the typical English conditions.
“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,” Manjrekar said in an ESPNCricinfo video.
The former India batsman picked regulars Shubman Gill, Rohit Sharma, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane as the top 5. However, he made a surprising exclusion of Ravindra Jadeja from his XI and picked Hanuma Vihari over him.
“Going to have Hanuma Vihari to reward him for his brilliant innings before he got injured. India will need somebody with more compact defensive technique. Because the guys at the top of the order, barring (Cheteshwar) Pujara, aren’t those kinds. 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,” he added.
In the fast bowling department, Manjrekar picked young Mohammed Siraj over Ishant Sharma because of his swinging abilities with the ball.
“Want Siraj, the swing bowler to be brought into the equation, and the last time Siraj bowled overseas in Australia, (he) 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,” he added.
Sanjay Manjrekar’s 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, Mohammed Siraj.