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Ahead of India’s opening Test match in the ICC World Test Championship, former Indian attacking opening batsman Virender Sehwag has spoken about his favourite playing XI in the present Indian Test side.
From Thursday (22nd August), the host side Windies and the visitors India will fight in the two-match Test series. This series is the opening series for both sides in the inaugural ICC World Test Championship (2019-21).
Ahead of the first Test at Sir Vivian Richards Stadium (Antigua), Virender Sehwag has spoken about India’s playing XI. He discussed it at India Today during the launch of a new app ‘The Selector’.
Sehwag believes winning is more important in the ICC World Test Championship. He feels that if the pitch supports the batsmen, India can go with five batsmen plus one wicketkeeper and five bowlers.
He told India Today, “India will have a look at the wicket and if it is good for batting, they (India) can pick five batsmen with a wicketkeeper and have five bowlers. It’s the World Test Championship, so winning is more important than to pay for a draw.”
Virender Sehwag wants to see Rohit Sharma at no.6 instead of Hanuma Vihari
The former Indian opener added, “Who played at no. 6 in the last series? Four is Virat, five is Rahane and six could be Hanuma Vihari because he can bowl a few overs too. But if you ask me, I will pick Rohit Sharma because he has the ability to score big hits. If there comes a stage where you are closing in on declaration, he can score those quick runs.”
However, recently, Hanuma Vihari has performed well in the longer-format. During the recently concluded three-match unofficial Test series between Windies A and India A on the Caribbean soil, captain Vihari was the second leading run-scorer in that series. The right-handed middle-order batsman scored 224 runs in six innings with an average of 44.80.
However, in that series, Vihari mostly scored in the third game. When the India A were under pressure in the first innings with the score of 48/4, Vihari scored 55 runs. Later, in the second innings, when India A were once again under pressure with the score of 50/4, he had an unbroken 315-run partnership along with Shubman Gill for the fifth wicket. While Gill scored 204 not out, captain Vihari remained not out on 118 runs.
Recently, in the three-day tour match before the Test series, Vihari scored 37* and 64 runs.
The former Indian opener believes Ravichandran Ashwin is India’s best spinner ahead of Kuldeep Yadav
In the meantime, Sehwag has also backed the off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin more than the left-arm chinaman Kuldeep Yadav. The former Indian opener feels that the present Caribbean wickets are similar to the Indian wickets, and Ashwin always bowls best on these kinds of pitches.
Sehwag claimed, “I would prefer to play the best available spinner and I believe Ashwin is our best spinner ahead of Kuldeep. He (Ashwin) may soon break Harbhajan’s record of 417 wickets in Test cricket. If he is the best, he should play and in West Indies you are likely to get wickets similar to what you get in India. We all know how well he has bowled in India.”
Virender Sehwag feels that the no.1-ranked Test team India is far ahead than the present Windies side. He has claimed that India can even win the two-match Test series by the 3-0 margin.