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WTC Final: I would go with Mohammed Siraj ahead of Ishant Sharma, says Harbhajan Singh

ICC World Test Championship Final: Harbhajan Singh said he would pick with Mohammad Siraj over the experienced Ishant Sharma due to the Hyderabad bowler’s current “form, pace and confidence”.

Mohammed Siraj has been impressive since his Test debut in December last year (AFP Photo)

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Mohammad Siraj has played 5 Tests so far since making his debut in December last year
  • Ishant Sharma is India’s most experienced active Test cricketer with 101 matches
  • India will take on New Zealand in the ICC World Test Championship final in Southampton from June 18

Veteran cricketer Harbhajan Singh on Thursday picked Mohammad Siraj over Ishant Sharma as his third-choice seamer in the Indian team for the upcoming ICC World Test Championship final (WTC) in Southampton.

Harbhajan said he would go with Siraj over the experienced Ishant due to the Hyderabad bowler’s “form, pace and confidence”.

“If I was the captain, I would go with three pure fast bowlers. In that case, Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Shami pick themselves. In this final, I would like to go with Mohammed Siraj ahead of Ishant Sharma.

“Ishant is a brilliant bowler but for this game, my choice is Siraj, who has shown remarkable improvement in the last two years,” Harbhajan told PTI.

Siraj made his debut in the Boxing Day Test against Australia last year and impressed with 13 wickets, the most for India in the Border-Gavaskar series, despite not playing the first game.

Ishant, India’s most-experienced active Test player, was not a part of the historic tour due to a back injury but made his comeback in the home series against England in February-March and picked 6 wickets, the most for the hosts in a series dominated by the spinners.

“You have to look at present scenario. Siraj’s form, pace and confidence makes him a better choice for this final match. Ishant has gone through some injuries of late but has been a great servant of Indian cricket no doubt.”

Harbhajan, who last played for India in 2016, also suggested Virat Kohli’s side to play two spinners in the summit clash at the Ageas Bowl.

“You play two spinners when the climate is on the hotter side. The cracks will appear and they will both be effective. If it remains on the cooler side, the pitch which comprises mainly of black soil won’t break.

“They can take a final call factoring in the weather just before the game and also taking the five-day forecast into the account. I don’t see a case for four pacers with no Hardik Pandya in the set-up. You can only play four pacers if the pitch can’t be distinguished from the outfield,” Bhajji explained.

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