WTC Final: Harbhajan Singh and Mohammed Kaif at loggerheads over Ishan Kishan and KS Bharat’s selection in eleven

Meanwhile, Mohammed Kaif provided his suggested starting eleven, including Shubman Gill and Rohit Sharma as openers, and Ishan Kishan in a batting role to provide attacking shots at number six. With varying opinions on team selection and the bowling attack, these expert analyses add to the anticipation surrounding the highly awaited WTC Final.

Speaking exclusively to Star Sports, former India off-spinner Harbhajan Singh said that he would prefer playing KS Bharat over Ishan Kishan for the WTC Final as he has been a more consistent performer in tests, he said “No, I don’t think he (Kishan) should be in the starting 11 because KS Bharat has been playing consistently for some time.

“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.”

On the contrary, Kaif has backed Kishan over Bharat to play attacking cricket against the old ball. Further, he has picked Umesh Yadav as the third pacer in the team.

“For the World Test Championship, the openers should be Shubhman 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 Rahane who makes his return to the team.

“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.

“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.

“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,” Kaif told Star Sports.

Harbhajan and Kaif pick Jadeja over Ashwin

Both Harbhajan and Kaif have suggested that India should go with two spinners if the pitch has less grass and the sun is out. In case the conditions are conducive to pace bowling, the former cricketers have backed Ravindra Jadeja over Ravichandran Ashwin.

“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 said.

(With input from press release)

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