Former India cricketer and now a renowned commentator, Sanjay Manjrekar has picked his India XI for the ICC World Test Championship starting this Friday in Southampton when they take on world’s top-ranked New Zealand.
There were two selections made by Manjrekar that raised many eyebrows in cricket fraternity and fans. The former India batsman decided to drop Ravindra Jadeja and pick Ravichandran Ashwin as the sole spinner provided the conditions in England are nothing out of the ordinary.
“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 in an ESPNCricinfo video.
The former India cricketer backed Hanuma Vihari, who is currently playing for county side Warwickshire. Vihari had battled through pain to save the third Test against Australia in Sydney this year. 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.
“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.”
Sanjay Manjrekar Left Out Ishant Sharma
The cricketer-turned-commentator has also left out Ishant, and instead opted for Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami, and young Mohammed Siraj for a three-pronged pace attack.
“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,” said Manjrekar.
“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.”
Sanjay Manjrekar’s India 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, and Mohammed Siraj