EXCLUSIVE: Who should open for India in WTC final? How important role will Rishabh Pant play? Virender Sehwag answers
New Delhi | Jagran Sports Desk: The final of the inaugural World Test Championship (WTC) will be played from June 18 between India and New Zealand. While India's playing XI looks almost certain, the dilemma over the openers continues. Though most of the cricket experts suggest that Rohit Sharma and Shubman Gill should open, many feel that Mayank Agarwal should be given another chance, thanks to his vast experience in domestic cricket.
Former India opener Virender Sehwag, who has two triple centuries to his name, is one of those who feel that Mayank should open along with Rohit in the WTC final. Speaking to Dainik Jagran in an exclusive interview, the 42-year-old said Mayank has two double centuries in Test cricket and should be preferred by the team management ahead of Gill.
Advising the Indian batsmen, Sehwag said that the players need to be patient. Giving the example of New Zealand, he told Dainik Jagran that a total of 300 can be a winnable target in the English conditions. He also said that Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane have played a couple of series in England that will help them this time.
"If the wicket is good, the weather is right then batting becomes easier in England. Sometimes you get flat wickets which makes it easier to bat. I think the new ball should be respected according to the circumstances," Sehwag said.
The former India opener said that 23-year-old Rishabh Pant can be Kohli's trump card for the WTC final. Calling the explosive wicket-keeper batsman a "match-winner", Sehwag said that Pant should not listen to anyone else and play his natural game as he centuries in both England and Australia.
Sehwag further told Dainik Jagran that Cheteshwar Pujara will play an important role in England. Like Rahul Dravid, Sehwag said Pujara has the ability to make the bowlers tired which can be useful. He said Pujara should also play his natural game.
"Like in the early 2000s, Rahul Bhai used to make the bowlers tired while I used to attack them. This made it easier for others. Test cricket is a five-day game, so it is important to tire the team in front. Every other batsman and player can win a match anywhere," Sehwag told Dainik Jagran.
The inaugural ICC WTC final will be played between India and New Zealand from June 18 to 22 at The Rose Bowl in Southampton. Following are the squads of both sides:
India: Rohit Sharma, Shubman Gill, Mayank Agarwal, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli (captain), Ajinkya Rahane (vice-captain), Hanuma Vihari, Rishabh Pant (wicket-keeper), Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Axar Patel, Washington Sundar, Jasprit Bumrah, Ishant Sharma, Mohammed Shami, Mohammed Siraj, Shardul Thakur, Umesh Yadav, KL Rahul (subject to fitness clearance), Wriddhiman Saha (wicket-keeper; subject to fitness clearance).
Standby players: Abhimanyu Easwaran, Prasidh Krishna, Avesh Khan and Arzan Nagwaswalla
New Zealand: Kane Williamson, Henry Nicholls, Ross Taylor, Colin de Grandhomme, Rachin Ravindra, Will Young, Jacob Duffy, Daryl Mitchell, Mitchell Santner, Tom Blundell, Devon Conway, Tom Latham, BJ Watling, Trent Boult, Doug Bracewell, Matt Henry, Kyle Jamieson, Ajaz Patel, Tim Southee, Neil Wagner.
Posted By: Aalok Sensharma