Thursday, 28 October 2021

WTC Final: India's plan to fit Siraj

wtc india test cricket new zealand siraj bowling final

India against New Zealand in WTC will be played on June 18, at the Ageas Bowl in Southampton, with June 23 as a reserve day.

With eight days to go for the WTC final against New Zealand, The Indian players have started training in Southampton.

The players can practice in groups of three and four before their soft quarantine period gets over.

Mohammed Siraj will be at the center of it. When the whole team gets down to practice from Friday, it will be an audition of sorts for the fast bowlers. They are just about warming up.

TTOI acknowledges that the team management is eager to have Siraj playing XI when Virat Kohli gets out for the toss on June 18.

But it is going to be a tough call. India's first time in the West Indies in August of 2019 was Mohammed Shami, Ishant Sharma, and Jasprit Bumrah, all available for selection. The trio has been instrumental in India's success overseas in the last three years.

It comes at a time when there are talks of the phase-out process has contemplated for Ishant. It's learned that the team management is trying to find a way to fit Mohammed Siraj in the playing XI.

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Management can ask Ishant Sharma to rest Siraj to hit his scores well in training leading up to the game.

The idea is to have a pacemaker who will bowl long spells without letting the magnitude drop. Ishant Sharma has been playing his role for over a decade. The Indian team management also wants someone to hit the deck and bowl bouncers continuously if the need comes to light to check the New Zealand batting.

wtc india test cricket new zealand ishant celebrating final

Ishant recouped from a severe ankle injury in January and made his fightback during the Test series against England. But there is agitation over Ishant's capability to bowl long overs like he used to.

Ishant Sharma could still do a good holding role but bowling a spree of bouncers could test him.

Ishant's experience of 101 Test matches, 12 in England, goes in his favor. But the management is also wary of Ishant's aging body.

He will turn 33 during this tour.  

While the Indian team has a wallop of a bat-ball balance by playing Ravindra Jadeja and Ravichandran Ashwin playing XI, the management may not want to go with a Pacer short in this game. Hardik Pandya played as the fourth pacer when India started picking 20 wickets regularly overseas in 2018.

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Moeen Ali's off-spin may have undone India at this site in the last two tours played, but those Test matches were played in late summer when the pitches had dried out.

The condition in Southampton is quite crisp, and the New Zealand team will be comfortable playing four-seamers.

It is still early this season, and there will be a lot more for the pacers on the pitch.

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