At a time when there is a lot of talk about spinners Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja playing together in the WTC final against New Zealand, former India off-spinner Sarandeep Singh did not rule out the possibility of India fielding four specialist seamers.
Sarandeep said if the conditions at the Ageas Bowl in Southampton are overcast on June 18, then India might think of going with a four-pronged pace attack.
“If conditions are overcast, then you can play an extra fast bowler after Ishant Sharma, Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammad Shami,” Sarandeep told PTI.
The former member of the selection committee that achieved outstanding results, especially in creating an enviable bench strength for Team India, surprisingly picked Shardul Thakur and not Mohammed Siraj as the fourth seamer. “My pick would be Shardul though Siraj has also done very well,” he said.
Explaining the rationale behind his choice, Sarandeep said Shardul can swing the ball more in favourable conditions and his ability to score runs at the lower order can be an added advantage.
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“You will need batting options in the lower order and Shardul gives you that. The ball will do a bit at Southampton and Shardul is good at swinging the ball. He has years of experience in domestic cricket and has a very sharp cricketing mind,” he added.
Shardul, who had made his debut against West Indies, in which he was injured after bowling just 10 balls, played an important role in India’s series-clinching historic victory against Australia at the Gabba in Brisbane.
Playing only in his second Test, Shardul picked up 7 wickets – 3 in the first innings, 4 in the second – and scored an invaluable 67 in India’s first innings to help his side win the match by 3 wickets.
Who will be India’s lone spinner if Virat Kohli and team management do decide to play four seamers? Sarandeep said it has to be Ashwin as New Zealand have a lot of left-handers in their batting line-up, which means Jadeja might have to sit out.
“If a fourth pacer is picked, then Jadeja, unfortunately, will have to sit out. Ashwin should play as there are quite a few left-handers in the New Zealand side,” Sarandeep said.
Currently, the Indian team is in quarantine but they are allowed to practice and use the gymnasium at the Ageas Bowl.
New Zealand, on the other hand, are busy playing the second Test against hosts England at Edgbaston in Birmingham.