Harbhajan Singh feels Mohammed Siraj should occupy the final seamer’s slot ahead of Ishant Sharma for the World Test Championship Final. The veteran spinner opined that Mohammed Siraj’s current form, along with his pace and confidence, make him the ideal pick for the marquee event.
India have a full battery of pacers to choose from, and it has thrown up several challenges for the management. While Ishant Sharma, Mohammed Shami and Jasprit Bumrah have served India well, Mohammed Siraj’s electric performances make him a good choice for English bowling conditions.
Many have discussed the Mohammed Siraj vs Ishant Sharma debate, and Harbhajan Singh backed the former while speaking to PTI. Harbhajan explained:
"Ishant is a brilliant bowler, but for this game, my choice is Siraj, who has shown remarkable improvement in the last two years. You have to look at the present scenario.
"Siraj's form, pace and confidence make him a better choice for this final match. The kind of form he is in the last six months, he looks like a bowler who is hungry for his chances.
"Ishant has gone through some injuries of late but has been a great servant of Indian cricket no doubt."
Recent media reports suggest how the Indian team is looking to incorporate Mohammed Siraj into the playing eleven. The reports claim the youngster will take up Ishant Sharma’s place because of his ability to bowl long spells and pepper New Zealand with bouncers if needed.
Harbhajan Singh was effusive in his praise for Mohammed Siraj, explaining why he feels the pace gun will pose problems for Kiwi batsmen.
"If you leave some grass on the surface, Siraj with his pace will be lethal. Trust me, New Zealand batters won't find him easy as he not only hits the deck but also gets to move the ball off the pitch at a brisk pace. He can create awkward angles for batsmen," said Harbhajan Singh.
Ravindra Jadeja automatically fits: Harbhajan Singh on No. 7 slot for India
Harbhajan Singh also gave his take on the No. 7 slot for India. While Ravindra Jadeja is the front-runner, many have wondered whether India would be better suited going in with four pacers considering the conditions.
But Harbhajan Singh feels playing four pacers in the absence of an all-rounder like Hardik Pandya is highly unlikely and he backed Ravindra Jadeja to fit the bill.
"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. If you look at Jaddu's batting performances in England, it's as good as anyone's. He has multiple half-centuries, and he is a top-class bowling operator. The moment you don't have Hardik to lend balance, Jaddu automatically fits," Harbhajan Singh concluded.
India will take on New Zealand in the World Test Championship Final at The Rose Bowl on June 18.