ICC WTC Final 2021: Ishant Sharma or Mohammed Siraj, who should play as India's third pacer in final?
New Delhi | Jagran Sports Desk: Cricket fans across the world are excited for the final of the inaugural World Test Championship (WTC) that will be played between Virat Kohli-led India and Kane Williamson's New Zealand at The Rose Bowl in Southampton. Over the past two years, the two sides have performed exceptionally, winning both at home and overseas.
The pace bowling unit of both India and New Zealand have especially caught the eyes of the fans as the two sides have tormented their opposition in nearly every series. While it is almost certain that Tim Southee, Neil Wagner and Trent Boult will be featuring for the Kiwis, the Men in Blue are still not sure about their three pacers.
Though Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Shami are certain to play, questions are being raised over the place of Ishant Sharma. Ishant's record in the last four years has been staggering with him picking up 77 wickets at an average of just 19.72. However, the rise of Mohammed Siraj has left fans wondering whether the Hyderabadi pacer should play ahead of Ishant.
Siraj, who made his Test debut last year, had helped India retain the Border-Gavaskar Trophy in Australia as he scalped 13 wickets at an average of 29.54. This is also included a five-wicket haul at the Gabba in Brisbane.
Unlike Ishant, Siraj has the ability to swing the ball both ways with pace. Several experts, including former India spinner Harbhajan Singh, feel that Kohli should pick Siraj ahead of Ishant as he has shown "remarkable improvement" in the last two years.
"If I was the captain, I would go with three pure fast bowlers. In that case, Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Shami pick themselves. In this final, I would like to go with Mohammed Siraj ahead of Ishant Sharma," Harbhajan told news agency PTI.
However, several cricket pundits believe that Ishant's experience can't be ignored. Here it is noteworthy to mention that the 32-year-old pacer has a brilliant record in England. In 12 Tests in England, the lanky pacer has picked up 43 wickets, including two five-wicket hauls, at an average of 33.91 and strike rate of 61.33.
Ishant also looks in good touch as the pacer picked up three wickets for 36 runs during the intra-squad practice game that was conducted by the team management in Southampton.
The finals of the inaugural ICC WTC final will be played at The Rose Bowl in Southampton from June 18 to 22.
Posted By: Aalok Sensharma