Sarandeep Singh feels India will be on the backfoot for the World Test Championship final due to their lack of match practice before the marquee event. The former selector claimed the ICC should have worked hard to ensure the final was a level playing field.
Much has been made about India’s lack of match practice before the WTC final. While Virat Kohli’s men will go into the crucial game without even a warm-up match in England, New Zealand would have played two Tests against the hosts by the time the final comes around.
Speaking to the Times of India, Sarandeep Singh handed the advantage to New Zealand, suggesting both the teams haven’t got equal opportunities ahead of the final.
“While New Zealand would come into this match on the back of a two-Test series against hosts England, India would be left without match practice despite facing completely different conditions than what they encounter at home. Clearly, the Kiwis would have an edge, when it should be a case of equal opportunity for both the teams,” Sarandeep explained.
India have begun training outdoors in the build-up to the World Test Championship final, while New Zealand are getting match-ready by playing a Test series against England. Sarandeep Singh explained how the ICC could have done more to help India get used to the conditions.
“No matter how much you practice in the nets, a warm-up game before playing a Test on foreign soil is a must. The International Cricket Council should've arranged a three-day practice match for the Indian team to help them prepare for the WTC final. If the counties aren't free, it could've persuaded the English Cricket Board (ECB) to arrange a second for the second XI of some county,” Sarandeep Singh suggested.
Sarandeep Singh bats for Shardul Thakur’s inclusion
With a fully fit squad to choose from, India have a selection conundrum on their hands. The Mohammed Siraj vs Ishant Sharma debate has dominated circles in recent days, but Sarandeep Singh wants to see another pace bowler make the team.
“If the conditions are overcast, seamer-friendly and windy, with the pitch offering a green cover, as is most likely going to be, I would prefer to play Shardul any day. He is a genuine swing bowler. Moreover, he adds depth to our batting, which is critical. We saw how his half-century (67) and that seventh-wicket partnership of 123 with Washington Sundar helped us win the deciding Test at Brisbane in Australia. If an all-rounder like him is not around, your tail will start after No 6, which is very risky," Sarandeep Singh concluded.
Considering the pace riches India has on offer, Shardul Thakur can only make the team as an all-rounder at No. 7. However, with Ravindra Jadeja fit, India may look to go with an experienced campaigner for the final.