Former India selector MSK Prasad has urged the current team and staff to take a decision on the playing XI closer to the 7 June start.
Former India men’s cricket team selector MSK Prasad has suggested the playing XI not be picked with a pre-determined mindset as they did two years ago. He also said Rishabh Pant is a difficult player to replace considering his feats on overseas tours.
India’s decision to pick both Ravindra Jadeja and R Ashwin for the 2021 World Test Championship final against New Zealand backfired with seamers dominating in overcast conditions at Southampton.
MSK Prasad suggested the team take a call on playing XI closer to the 7 June start at The Oval in London. “We went with two spinners and three fast bowlers in the mind but subsequently there was rain, we should have changed our plans, somehow we stuck to the same playing eleven. But that is in the past,” said the former India wicketkeeper to news agency PTI.
“It all depends on conditions at The Oval. The is the actual story of the movie, the pitch and conditions. We don’t know how they will be over five days, so we should not pre fix our mind and understand the conditions and back your instincts,” he added.
‘Straightforward to pick KS Bharat’
With Rishabh Pant still recovering from a car accident-induced injuries, it is between KS Bharat and Ishan Kishan for the wicketkeeper-batter spot. For MSK Prasad, choosing KS Bharat is a no brainer. However, he stressed on the importance Pant has on overseas tours especially having scored centuries in England, Australia and South Africa.
“It is a pretty straightforward call to pick Bharat (over Ishan Kishan). It is really tough to fill the shoes of Rishabh especially in an away series. In the history of entire India cricket, no other wicketkeeper batter has hundreds in England, South Africa and Australia, so it’s very difficult to replace him.”
“You need to have a wicketkeeper who is fit and fine for 100 overs. This is a Test match and we need to think from that aspect. But if you are thinking you can have Ishan Kishan, Bharat has been tried and tested and has played India A in England, so they might end up going with him,” said Prasad.
‘Hard to ignore Jadeja and Ashwin if needed’
If India does go with four pacers, it will leave room for one spinner and the choice between Jadeja and Ashwin is a difficult one, admits MSK Prasad.
“Jadeja has been so good of late that he can play as a specialist batter. It is a tricky call considering what both can bring to the table, it is hard to ignore. Ashwin with his 400-plus wickets and he is someone who is who can bowl on any surface. If it comes to that, it will be a very tough call,” he said.
Another tough decision will be to choose between Umesh Yadav and Shardul Thakur.
“That is the trickiest part. If you see the statistics, Umesh is more successful in home conditions compared to away conditions, so picking Shardul gives you that batting advantage. You need to have long batting depth also against a quality attack like Australia,” Prasad added.
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