Former England captain Nasser Hussain feels that Team India can win the World Test Championship (WTC) final against Australia if they make some bold decisions with respect to their bowling choices.
Team India are posed with a serious dilemma regarding their bowling combination, with Ravichandran Ashwin and Shardul Thakur both proving to be valuable inclusions in the playing XI to bring balance to the side.
The Men in Blue's approach of playing with one spinner worked well in their 2021 tour of England, but the nature of the Oval surface combined with the weather combination warrant the inclusion of a second spinner as well.
Coming up with a bold choice that involves both Ashwin and Thakur in the playing XI but no Umesh Yadav, Nasser Hussain said on the ICC Review:
“I think India, as they showed in Australia, can win in any conditions. It helps with the balance of their side if the weather is good and if the sun shines at The Oval, that they can go with their formula of two spinners, two seamers, and have (Shardul) Thakur as your third seamer."
“If you look back at the last World Test Championship, I think India read the conditions wrong. The lights were on all five days, it was grey, it was miserable, it was cold.New Zealand didn't play a front-line spinner. India played two, and I think seam dominated, swing dominated. India have played some good cricket at The Oval. They beat England there last time in a really good game. I think it's a pretty fair venue.”
India lost the inaugural WTC Final by eight wickets to the Kane Williamson-led New Zealand side in a contest that stretched into the reserve day at the Rose Bowl in Southampton.
“I think that's a really good battle, Cummins against Shami. Some high-class bowlers" - Nasser Hussain
Pacers are expected to have a massive say with the Dukes ball in England. While overcast conditions are not expected to be on the offer, both sides have enough quality in their seam bowling department to make the ball talk against some of the most potent batters in world cricket.
Noting that the lengths that Mohammed Shami and Pat Cummins bowl will be key for their respective teams, Nasser Hussain said:
“I'm a massive fan of Pat Cummins in England with the Dukes ball. He bowls those lengths, ideal lengths. It's the thing that Mohammad Shami has really worked on, his lengths in England."
"For years, we used to show Shami in that seam position and it was just back of a length.That's one thing that he has adjusted. He has gone a little bit fuller and he is finding the outside edge. I think that's a really good battle, Cummins against Shami. Some high-class bowlers.”
Pat Cummins is the No.3-ranked bowler in Test cricket, while Shami finds himself at the 20th spot ahead of the WTC Final.
What will Team India's bowling combination be for the WTC Final against Australia? Let us know what you think.