ICC WTC: Former Indian spinner Harbhajan Singh reckons that young Indian gun Mohammad Siraj should be included in the final 11 of the ICC World Test Championship final, which is all set to begin on June 18 at Rose Bowl Southampton.
Harbhajan Singh feels that Siraj has done remarkably well in the last two years and should be kept over Ishant Sharma for this game.
Asked about his final choice of the playing11 for the ICC WTC Final, Singh said Siraj can pip Ishant Sharma.
“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 PTI on Thursday.
“Ishant is a brilliant bowler but for this game, my choice is Siraj, who has shown remarkable improvement in the last two year
The 40-years old former spinner states that the player’s current form should be taken into account. Ishant Sharma has tons of experience in the longest format, but Siraj is in a well-maintained form of his life and has scalped a fifer in Brisbane when the situations were against the Indians.
“You have to look at present scenario. Siraj’s form, pace and confidence makes him a better choice for this final match. The kind of form he is in last six months, he looks like a bowler who is hungry for his chances. Ishant has gone through some injuries of late but has been a great servant of Indian cricket no doubt,” the off-spinner said.
He further said that Mohammad Siraj will come in handy if there’s grass on the pitch. He said not only Siraj can hit the accurate lengths but also get the ball to move and create awkward angles for the batter which will trouble the kiwis.
“If you leave some grass on the surface, Siraj with his pace will be lethal. Trust me, New Zealand batters won’t find him easy as he not only hits the deck but also gets to move the ball off the pitch at brisk pace. He can create awkward angles for batsmen,” Bhajji, India’s third-highest wicket-taker in Test cricket, reckoned.
Mohammad Siraj has shaped into a better bowler after the last Australia tour:
Siraj’s improvement since the Border Gavaskar Trophy 2020-21 has been enormous. He has turned himself into a different bowler altogether. He leaked runs early on in his career, however, when he was given the responsibility to spearhead the attack in absence of a senior during the Australia tour, he has shaped into a better bowler.
For Harbhajan, what surprised him the most is Siraj’s performance in the IPL 2019 and 2021.
He said, Andree Russell smacked him all over the park in the IPL 2019, however, he was more accurate and hit those lengths and troubled Russell in this year’s IPL.
“I saw him during 2019 when Russell blasted him to all corners of the ground. This year I saw him bowl some really accurate yorkers and consistently hitting the right spot ball after ball. The pace has also increased.
“Russell was beaten for pace during a couple of deliveries. It’s the confidence that he gained by playing for India. He would look into batsmen’s eyes and batters are on back-foot.”