MSK Prasad, Team India (Pic: AFP)
Former chief selector MSK Prasad warned skipper Rohit Sharma and coach Rahul Dravid against repeating the same selection blunder like they did it two years ago, and urged to not pick the playing XI for the high-profile World Test Championship (WTC) final with a pre-determined mindset. India's move to pick two spinners, Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja, in the 2021 WTC final against New Zealand backfired as pacers dominated the game in overcast conditions at Southampton.
Spin could play a role in the final against Australia at The Oval in London from June 7 but Prasad advised the team to take the final call depending on the conditions at that time.
"We went with two spinners and three fast bowlers in the mind but subsequently there was rain, we should have changed our plans, somehow we stuck to the same playing eleven. But that is in the past. It all depends on conditions at The Oval. The is the actual story of the movie, the pitch and conditions. We don't know how they will be over five days, so we should not pre fix our mind and understand the conditions and back your instincts," the former India wicketkeeper told PTI.
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Prasad feels it would be very tough to fill the injured Rishabh Pant's shoes as his overseas feats are unparalleled. Pant, who has scored centuries in England, Australia and South Africa, won't be available to counter attack if the top-order fails.
"It is a pretty straightforward call to pick Bharat (over Ishan Kishan). It is really tough to fill the shoes of Rishabh especially in an away series. In the history of entire India cricket, no other wicketkeeper batter has hundreds in England, South Africa and Australia, so it's very difficult to replace him. You need to have a wicketkepeer who is fit and fine for 100 overs. This is a Test match and we need to think from that aspect. But if you are thinking you can have Ishan Kishan, Bharat has been tried and tested and has played India A in England, so they might end up going with him," said Prasad, who was the chief selector between 2016 and 2020.
Moreover, Prasad feels choosing between Ashwin and Jadeja becomes very difficult considering what they bring to the table if India does go with four pacers.
"Jadeja has been so good of late that he can play as a specialist batter. It is a tricky call considering what both can bring to the table, it is hard to ignore. Ashwin with his 400 plus wickets and he is someone who is who can bowl on any surface. If it comes to that, it will be a very tough call," he said.
(With PTI inputs)