WTC Final 2023
Former chief selector MSK Prasad feels That India should not choose the playing XI for the World Test Championship (WTC Final 11) from a predetermined estimate and believes that it will be difficult to fill the place of injured Rishabh Pant as his achievements abroad are fantastic. India's decision to pick two spinners — Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja — in the 2023 WTC final against New Zealand (IND vs NZ WTC 2021) was reversed as the fast bowlers dominated the rain conditions in Southampton.
Spin could play a role in the final against Australia at The Oval in London from June 7 but Prasad (Mannava Srikanth Prasad on Team India WTC Final) advised that the team should decide according to the circumstances at that time. "We had picked two spinners and three fast bowlers but it rained, we should have changed our plans, but we stuck to the same XI, but now it's a thing of the past," the former India wicketkeeper told PTI.
"It all depends on the conditions at 'The Oval'. The pitch and conditions are important. We don't know how it will happen in five days, so we should not pre-judge and take a decision based on the circumstances. Pant has scored centuries in England, Australia and South Africa and if the top order fails, he will not be available to take up the responsibility of batting. Prasad feels that in Pant's absence, KS Bharat will be the only automatic option for wicketkeeping but believes that Pant's ability cannot be compared.
"It's a very clear decision to pick Bharat (Ishan Kishan as a replacement in Srikar Bharat) but it's really difficult to replace Rishabh, especially in the entire Indian cricket in a series overseas that has scored centuries in England, South Africa and Australia, so it's very difficult to replace him," he said. "You need a wicketkeeper who is fit for 100 overs and does well. It's a Test match and we need to think from that angle."
India's star-equipped top four include Rohit Sharma, Shubman Gill, Cheteshwar Pujara and Virat Kohli, who are expected to do well against the likes of Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood and Pat Cummins. Ajinkya Rahane also adds to the experience of the batting unit at number five. "How does our top order cope with their fast bowling attack? This will decide the outcome of the match.
"Gill is at his best, Rohit Sharma has scored a century in England, Kohli (Virat Kohli) is in great form and Pujara (Cheteshwar Pujara) has scored a lot of runs in county cricket and given Ajinkya's (Ajinkya Rahane) experience, he is the best for us, he has to play hard and win matches."