S Sreesanth wants India to play Srikar Bharat ahead of Ishan Kishan in the World Test Championship (WTC) final.
Rohit Sharma and Co. will lock horns with Australia in the title decider at The Oval in London from Wednesday, June 7. With Rishabh Pant being unavailable, cricket experts are split on the choice of India's wicketkeeper-batter for the crunch game.
During an interaction on the Star Sports show 'Follow the Blues', Sreesanth was asked whether Srikar Bharat spending a lot of time at the nets a day before the game gives any indication, to which he replied light-heartedly:
"I feel his name has 'Sri'. We won the T20 and 50-over World Cups when 'Sree' played. So this time when 'Sri' plays, we will win the ICC World Test Championship as well."
The former Indian pacer pointed out that the Andhra Pradesh wicketkeeper-batter has an impressive first-class record with the bat:
"I have seen Bharat in first-class cricket as well. I have been seeing him since 2013. He has scored a lot of runs in first-class cricket. It's not that he is not a good batter and one more thing is that his work ethics are fantastic. There is so much to learn from him as a youngster."
Bharat has amassed 4808 runs at a decent average of 37.27 in 90 first-class games. He has struck nine centuries and 27 half-centuries and has 303 catches and 36 stumpings to his name.
"Ishan Kishan and Srikar Bharat have an opportunity" - Sreesanth on Rishabh Pant's absence
Sreesanth highlighted that Rishabh Pant's absence has presented a great opportunity for either Ishan Kishan or Srikar Bharat:
"Yes, there is a lot of comparison between Ishan Kishan and Rishabh Pant as a left-hander, but just like we used to say that Dhoni bhai can't be replaced - Rishabh Pant get well soon, it will be very good for Indian cricket, but Ishan Kishan and Srikar Bharat have an opportunity."
The cricketer-turned-commentator concluded by casting his vote for Bharat:
"I am saying that on such a wicket, Bharat knows where the off-stump is. He plays attacking cricket whenever required. He used to play attacking cricket only when he started playing first-class cricket. Then he became a more mature cricketer. For me personally, Bharat is a very good choice."
Bharat aggregated 101 runs, with a top score of 44, in the four-Test series against Australia earlier this year. Kishan, on the other hand, is yet to make his Test debut and the Indian think-tank might not want to take the risk of going with him in such a crucial game.
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