Former Indian selector Sarandeep Singh has picked Shardul Thakur over Mohammed Siraj as the fourth fast bowling option for Team India for the upcoming ICC World Test Championship (WTC) final against New Zealand starting on June 16 in Southampton.
India is likely to go in with three pacers Ishant Sharma, Jasprit Bumrah, and Mohammad Shami with the spin duo of R Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja for the WTC 2021 Final against New Zealand next week.
If Team India goes with the fourth fast bowling option for the mega clash in Southampton, Sarandeep Singh, whose tenure ended with the Australia tour earlier this year, said his pick would be Shardul given the batting ability he has showed in Australia earlier this year.
Sarandeep told PTI, “If conditions are overcast, then you can play an extra fast bowler after Ishant Sharma, Jasprit Bumrah, and Mohammad Shami. My pick would be Shardul though Siraj has also done very well. You will need batting options in the lower order and Shardul gives you that.”
The former spinner further added, “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. 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.”
Meanwhile, the former Indian selector believes that the upcoming WTC 2021 Final and the five-match Test series against New Zealand will be very important for Shubman Gill as he failed to live up to the expectations in Australia, as well as, against England at home.
However, he is confident that the young opener will find a way to bounce back in England. He said, “Shubman is a class act. I am confident he will do well and most probably start with the WTC final with Rohit. He did not have the best of times against England at home.”
Sarandeep continued, “I hope he finds a way to bounce back in their own backyard. There is tremendous competition for the opening slot with Mayank sitting out despite doing well in his short Test career so far. Then you have got the likes of Prithvi Shaw and Devdutt Padikkal waiting in the queue.”
The 41-year-old was also surprised to see Shivam Dube not selected for the upcoming white-ball tour of Sri Lanka in July, saying there should be backup for the all-rounder Hardik Pandya.
He signed off by saying, “What happens in case Hardik Pandya is not able to bowl? You needed back up in Dube or Vijay Shankar. You have picked six spinners and all of them won't get to play so it made sense to add another fast bowling all-rounder.”
(With PTI Inputs)