Former India cricketer Sanjay Manjrekar has picked his India playing XI for the ICC World Test Championship, set to be played against New Zealand in Southampton from Friday. Manjrekar left out the likes of Ravindra Jadeja and Ishant Sharma as he went with an extra batsman in the line-up.
“I’m assuming you have typical English conditions. I’m assuming there will be a mixture of sun and cloudy cover throughout the five days of the Test match if it goes the distance. So, I’m picking the team accordingly,” Manjrekar said on ESPNCricinfo.
Manjrekar went with Ravichandran Ashwin as his sole spinner for the WTC final while combining the pace troika of Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami and Mohammed Siraj.
The former India batsman backed Hanuma Vihari, who picked up an injury during the Sydney Test in Australia earlier this year, in a bid to reward him for his heroics in the match. In Manjrekar’s team, Rishabh Pant bats at number seven as he said he wants the batting line-up to run deep given the lack of practice India have had in the build-up to the WTC final.
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“Going to have Hanuma Vihari reward him for his brilliant innings before he got injured,” Manjrekar said. “India will need somebody with more compact defensive technique because the guys at the top of the order, barring (Cheteshwar) Pujara, aren’t those kinds. So I will have Hanuma Vihari at number 6. (Rishabh)Pant at 7, considering India have hardly had any practice game. I just want to make sure the batting runs deep.”
“Want Siraj, the swing bowler to be brought into the equation, and the last time Siraj bowled overseas in Australia, got a five-wicket haul. Hard to leave a bowler like him out. You will be tempted to think of Siraj because when you look at Shami, Bumrah and Ishant, they are more seam bowlers, hit-the-deck kind of bowler. Siraj might offer something different. I would go with Siraj, but India might play Ishant for obvious reasons,” he said.
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Sanjay Manjrekar’s India playing XI for WTC Final: Shubman Gill, Rohit Sharma, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli (c), Ajinkya Rahane, Hanuma Vihari, Rishabh Pant (wk), Ravichandran Ashwin, Mohammed Shami, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Siraj