India’s former head coach, Ravi Shastri was recently given the tough task of selecting a combined playing XI for the WTC final.
However, Shastri racked his brains and gave the best possible XI as per their records and ability to play in English conditions.
Starting at the top, Shastri chose Rohit Sharma as the skipper and opener because of his experience and skills.
I would give captaincy to Rohit because he’s much more experienced than Pat. He’s been around and he’s captained sides for a long time.
Adding further, he says,
If Steve Smith was captain of Australia, then maybe it’s a different story, but since it’s Pat Cummins and Rohit Sharma, Rohit wins it. Plus, you know, as a captain, you’re a certainty in the XI so he opens the batting.
However, Shastri again faced the problem of selecting Rohit’s opening partner. But, ultimately he went in with Usman Khawaja.
It’s a tight one between Usman Khawaja and Shubman Gill. Shubman is the rising young star and he’s a terrific player, but Usman Khawaja, just by current form and the number of runs he’s got over the last couple of years, I think he gets it there.
Moreover, for positions 3, 4, and 5, Shastri has picked Marnus Labuschagne, Virat Kohli, and Steve Smith respectively.
Number three is no-brainer as Marnus (Labuschagne) has been outstanding in Test match cricket. He averages close to 60, so he get it there straight away. Kohli at four for just what he’s done over the years and Smith at five for what he’s done over the years and the kind of quality they bring to the table.
Shastri leaves out Ashwin, Pujara, and others from his XI
Meanwhile, Shastri has picked Ravindra Jadeja at No.6 while Alex Carey goes in at No.7 as the keeper.
Additionally, Shastri overlooked Ravichandran Ashwin and picked Nathan Lyon as Jadeja’s spin partner.
At No.6, I get in Jadeja, because I believe he is one of the best all-rounders in the world. We know there’s (England captain) Ben Stokes, but Ben has had problems with his fitness, so Jadeja comes in there and gives a lot of balance to that side.
Adding further, he said,
The reason why I picked Nathan Lyon ahead of Ashwin is because of Nathan’s overseas record. Not just in Australia, but outside Australia and (Lyon is) probably stronger to bowl those overs in England if needed. So, he comes in with Jadeja as the second spinner, with Jadeja more the all-rounder and Lyon the spinner.
For the pace department, Shastri has picked Pat Cummins, Mohammed Shami, and Mitchell Starc.
(Pat) Cummins, of course, for me, he’s a top-class operator and Mohammed Shami, he’s like vintage and he’s just getting better and better as we’re seeing in this IPL. And stronger. And it was a tough one between (Josh) Hazelwood, Starc and there’s Cameron Green also there.
Concluding, Shastri said,
But I preferred Jadeja because you get a better balance with two spinners, three fast bowlers, out and out fast bowlers and I would take Starc (to complement them) because of pace and variety being the left-armer. It’s a hard choice (to settle on the final XI) because Ashwin’s world-class, you’ve got Hazelwood world-class there and you’ve got (Cheteshwar) Pujara there who could be threatening. So it’s not easy.
Ravi Shastri’s Combined Playing XI for WTC Final
Rohit Sharma (c), Usman Khawaja, Maruns Labuschagne, Virat Kohli, Steve Smith, Ravindra Jadeja, Alex Carey, Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc, Nathan Lyon, Mohammed Shami
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