Former Australia captain Ricky Ponting feels that Team India will include both Ravindra Jadeja and Ravichandran Ashwin in their playing XI for the World Test Championship (WTC) final against Australia.
Team India's combination largely hinges on whether they will play a potential second spinner or not. The prospect of playing four seamers with the inclusion of Shardul Thakur is a tempting option, but on the other hand, the experience that Ashwin brings is crucial as well for the high-profile encounter.
The Men in Blue stuck with Jadeja as the sole spinner during their 2-2 series draw in England in 2021 and the rescheduled Test in 2022.
Believing that the Indian playing XI can accommodate both the spinners, Ponting said on ICC Review:
“I actually think they will pick Jadeja and Ashwin. Jadeja can hold down that No.6 batting spot. His batting has improved that much that they can pick him as a batter that might just bowl a few overs if required.”
“There is no doubt that Ashwin is a more skilled and better Test bowler than what Jadeja is. But if Jadeja can hold down that batting spot, and then as the game goes on getting into the fourth and fifth day, if it does start to turn, then you've got that really high class second spin bowling option. That's certainly what I'd be doing.”
Jadeja scored a rescuing ton during the rescheduled fifth Test against England in Birmingham. On the other hand, Ashwin's last appearance in England came during the 2018 tour. The off-spinner has played seven Tests in the country so far, picking up 18 wickets at an average of 28.11.
"Everyone I've spoken to from India or Sri Lanka, and those sorts of places, rate Nathan Lyon really highly" - Ricky Ponting
The bowling combination is a straightforward one for Australia, with Josh Hazlewood's injury being the sole concern. Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc, and Cameron Green will be the seam bowlers while Nathan Lyon leads the spin department.
Australia had to ponder over their spin bowling choices during the Border-Gavaskar Trophy in India, but they will revert back to their relied formula of fielding a sole spinner in England.
Backing Lyon to trouble the Indian batters, Ricky Ponting said:
“I judge spin on what Indian subcontinental batsmen normally talk about when they talk about facing spin bowling. Everyone I've spoken to from India or Sri Lanka, and those sorts of places, rate Nathan Lyon really highly.”
Team India will take on Australia in the WTC final from June 7 onwards at the Oval.
How will the Men in Blue shape up their bowling attack for the WTC Final against Australia? Let us know what you think.