New Delhi: Former India off-spinner Harbhajan Singh believes the Rohit Sharma-led side should go with two spinners for the World Test Championship final against Australia at The Oval if conditions allow them to do so.
Two years ago, India had picked two spinners in Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja for the inaugural WTC final against New Zealand in Southampton. But overcast conditions meant spin didn’t have a major say in the match as New Zealand won on the back of fielding five-man fast-bowling line-up.
But with London experiencing majorly sunny weather, there could be a temptation from the Indian team to field both left-arm spin all-rounder Jadeja and off-spin all-rounder Ashwin in the playing eleven, as per Harbhajan.
“This all depends on what the pitch is saying, if the pitch has less grass and the sun is out, then play with two spinners. If that is not the case then play three seamers and Ravindra Jadeja, along with Shardul Thakur who will not only bowl but contribute with the bat as well,” Harbhajan was quoted as saying by Star Sports.
India also have to make a call between KS Bharat and Ishan Kishan as their wicketkeeper for the marquee WTC final. While Bharat kept wickets in India’s 2-1 triumph over Australia in this year’s Border-Gavaskar Trophy at home, Kishan is yet to play for the side in the longest format of the game.
Bharat had played in England as a member of India A side in 2018 and was with the main squad in last year’s trip for the rescheduled Birmingham Test, where he scored 70 not out and kept wickets in the tour match against Leicestershire.
Kishan, on the other hand, is yet to play a competitive first-class cricket match in England.
Harbhajan said he would prefer playing Bharat over Kishan for the WTC Final as the former has been a more consistent performer in the longer format of the game.
“No, I don’t think he (Kishan) should be in the starting 11 because KS Bharat has been playing consistently for some time,” the former off-spinner said.
“If it was Wriddhiman Saha, then I would consider playing him because he has more experience and is a better keeper. If KL Rahul was fit, I would have played him instead, at number 5 or 6, because he is a proper opener and he could keep as well,” he added.