Sanjay Manjrekar has picked India’s playing XI for the WTC final against New Zealand. Ravindra Jadeja and Ishant Sharma were two of the most notable absentees from his playing XI.
Speaking to ESPNCricinfo, the former Indian batsman picked his team keeping in mind the typical English conditions where there will be a mixture of cloud cover and sunny days. Manjrekar said:
“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.”
The 55-year-old picked the obvious choices in the top five, with Shubman Gill and Rohit Sharma opening the innings. Cheteshwar Pujara will come at no. 3 followed by captain Virat Kohli and his deputy Ajinkya Rahane.
Manjrekar went in with Hanuma Vihari at no.6, explaining that the Virat Kohli-led side will need someone with a compact technique in the middle-order. He picked Rishabh Pant to keep the gloves and bat at no.7.
“Going to have Hanuma Vihari to reward him for his brilliant innings before he got injured. India will need somebody with more compact defensive technique. Because the guys at the top of the order barring Pujara aren’t those kind.
“So I will have Hanuma Vihari at number 6. Pant at 7, considering India have hardly had any practice game. I just want to make sure the batting runs deep,” Sanjay Manjrekar stated.
The cricketer-turned-commentator picked Ravichandran Ashwin as India’s lone spinner in his playing XI with Jadeja missing out. He picked Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami as the two seamers with Mohammed Siraj partnering them instead of Ishant Sharma.
“Want Siraj, the swing bowler to be brought into the equation and the last time Siraj bowled overseason in Australia, got a five-wicket haul. Hard to leave a bowler like him out,” Manjrekar said
“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’d go with Siraj. But India might play Ishant for obvious reasons,” he concluded
Manjrekar’s 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.