Ahead of the monumental clash, former India coach Ravi Shastri has chosen his India-Australia combined Test XI. Shastri featured in the latest episode of ICC Review and picked up his best Test XI which consists of both the finalists.
And in his combined team, the former coach picked up only four Indian players. It was dominated by Australian players as only a handful of Indian stars could feature in his Test XI.
Players like Ravichandran Ashwin, Shubman Gill and Cheteshwar Pujara couldn’t find a place in his squad, whereas Aussie skipper Pat Cummins, batter Usman Khawaja was included in the squad.
Steve Smith and Virat Kohli – two batting stalwarts of both nations found their places in the team and Shastri chose India captain Rohit Sharma to lead the combined Test XI.
Usman Khawaja over Shubman Gill
Shastri admitted it was a tough job for him to pick the combined XI. He cited form and number of runs scored in the past two years to pick Usman Khawaja over India’s rising star Shubman Gill.
Picking No.3 to No.5 was easy: Shastri
He then said the decision to pick the No.3, No.4 and No.5 was the easiest thing that he did.
“Number three is a no-brainer as Marnus (Labuschagne) has been outstanding in Test match cricket. He averages close to 60, so he gets in there straight away,” Shastri said.
“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.”
Carey wins the spot with ease
Australia keeper Alex Carey wins the spot as wicket-keeper as the Indian duo of KS Bharat and Ishan Kishan have no such overseas Test experience.
Lyon over Ashwin
Shastri admitted it was difficult to leave out Ravichandran Ashwin but he stuck with Australia’s Nathan Lyon for his superior overseas record.
“The reason why I picked Nathan Lyon ahead of Ashwin is because of Nathan’s overseas record,” Shastri said.
“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,” the former India coach commented.
In the pace department, the sole India representative was Mohammed Shami, as the duo of Pat Cummins and Mitchell Starc represented the Aussies.
India-Australia Combined Test XI by Ravi Shastri
Rohit Sharma (C), Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Virat Kohli, Steve Smith, Ravindra Jadeja, Alex Carey (wk), Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc, Nathan Lyon, Mohammed Shami
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