India named their XI ahead of the final of the World Test Championship (WTC) against New Zealand in Southampton and decided to go in with five bowlers including both R Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja in the XI. However, veteran India leg spinner Amit Mishra opined that he would have preferred to see a bowling all-rounder in the line-up which would have given the team an edge in helpful overcast conditions in the southern port city of England.
India departed from their usual 6 + 1+ 4 combination overseas and instead opted for a more attacking 5+1+5 combination (5 batsmen, wicket-keeper, 5 bowlers). The form of Ravindra Jadeja and Rishabh Pant with the bat allowed them to play the extra bowler in R Ashwin. Mishra stated while the XI looked very strong on paper, the inclusion of a fast-bowling all-rounder would have added an extra dimension to the team in helpful swinging and seaming conditions in Southampton.
“The playing XI looks great. We have Ravindra Jadeja and Ravichandran Ashwin, two excellent spinners who can also contribute with the bat. Ashwin and Jadeja’s batting skills will help India a lot. I think India could have named a fast-bowling all-rounder in the playing XI, someone who could have bowled six-seven overs when the regular pacers are tired and the ball is swinging,” Mishra said.
India don’t have the option of a fast-bowling all-rounder in their squad of 15. While Shardul Thakur is a member of the Test squad to England he was not named in the 15-member contingent for the WTC Final. Hardik Pandya had been playing the role of the fast-bowling all-rounder for India overseas but a back injury has forced him out of contention with his inability to bowl in the longer format. He was not named in the 20-man squad to England.
Mishra added that India would have been served better if they included a fast-bowling allrounder just like New Zealand have Kyle Jamiseon in their squad. They also have Colin de Grandhomme who can be very useful in English conditions with his military medium.
“I think it would have been better if India included a fast-bowling all-rounder. New Zealand have a fast-bowling all-rounder in their squad, so this is the one advantage that the Blackcaps have,” said Mishra.
While complementing India’s brilliant bowling unit, Mishra stated that their batting had depth and was the stronger of the two suits.
“I think India’s batting line-up is stronger than the bowling unit. If you consider the all-rounders, we bat very deep. Only the three fast bowlers do not bat. So, I feel the batting is stronger,” added Mishra.