WTC Final: Would play Kishan over Bharat to play attacking shots against old ball at number six, says Kaif

New Delhi: Former India cricketer Mohammed Kaif said he would play Ishan Kishan over KS Bharat in the playing eleven at the upcoming World Test Championship final against Australia at The Oval, citing the need for a batter to play attacking shots against the old Dukes ball at number six.

India are all set to play against Australia in the 2023 WTC final in London from June 7-11. With Rishabh Pant and KL Rahul not available due to injuries, India have to make a call between Bharat and Kishan as their wicketkeeper for the marquee clash.

While Bharat, the right-handed batter, kept wickets in India’s 2-1 triumph over Australia in this year’s Border-Gavaskar Trophy at home, left-handed batter Kishan is yet to play for the side in the longest format of the game.

“I would play Ishan Kishan over KS Bharat because you would want someone to play attacking shots at number six, because the ball is old and Rishabh Pant used to play that role,” Kaif was quoted as saying by Star Sports.

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.

Talking about the rest of the batting line-up, Kaif said, “For the World Test Championship, the openers should be Shubman Gill and Rohit Sharma, followed by Pujara who plays at number three and has experience there. At number four would be Virat Kohli followed by (Ajinkya) Rahane who makes his return to the team.”

Another selection query for India has been playing a pace all-rounder in Shardul Thakur or another spin all-rounder in ace off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin. Kaif remarked if the conditions at The Oval suit the spinners, then he will pick Ashwin.

“At seven, I will play Jadeja and at eight I would either play Ashwin or Shardul, depending on the pitch conditions, and if the pitch suits spin then Ashwin can target the left handed batsmen like Warner, Travis Head and Khawaja, so it will be a good match up,” the former India batter said.

“I would take fast bowlers Mohammed Shami, Mohammed Siraj followed by Umesh Yadav at number 11. This would be my preferred playing 11 because it’s early June, you will need three fast bowlers plus Jadeja and Ashwin or Shardul, depending on the forecast,” he concluded.



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