Ravi Shastri
Ravi Shastri, from an archived photo

Shastri remarked on the difficulty of making the final roster cuts, which included players like R Ashwin, Cheteshwar Pujara, and Josh Hazlewood.

Ravi Shastri, a former Indian head coach, and cricketer, recently unveiled his combined Indian Test XI, comprised of players from India and Australia, the two teams that competed for the ICC World Test Championship. The WTC final is exactly two weeks away. Shastri said in the most recent episode of ICC Review that he struggled to put together a combined playing XI because of the abundance of all-star players on both teams. However, the Indian legend took a risk and selected a final XI, in which just four Indian players were included.

Shastri considered making Steve Smith captain but ultimately settled on Rohit Sharma.

According to ICC, Shastri was cited as saying, “I would give the captaincy to Rohit because he is much more experienced than Pat.”

He’s been a leader for quite some time and has captained multiple teams. Perhaps things would be different if Steve Smith were Australia’s captain, but with Pat Cummins and Rohit Sharma on the pitch, Rohit comes out on top.

“Plus, you know, as captain, you’re a certainty in the XI, so he opens the batting.”

Shastri faced a conundrum when Rohit volunteered to be captain and bat first.

The likes of David Warner and Usman Khawaja of Australia, as well as the up-and-coming right-handed talent of India’s Shubman Gill, are in the running.

During the 2021–23 World Test Championship cycle, only England’s Joe Root made more runs than Khawaja, and Shastri has suggested the Australian left-hander deserves to begin alongside Rohit.

The race between Usman Khawaja and Shubman Gill is close, as Shastri himself acknowledged.

“Shubman is the rising young star and he’s a terrific player,” but “Usman Khawaja, just by current form and the number of runs he’s got over the last couple of years, I think he gets in there.”

Shastri defended his selection of Marnus Labuschagne, the top-ranked Test batter in the world, Virat Kohli, and Steve Smith, two seasoned veterans, for positions 3, 4, and 5.

Marnus Labuschagne’s performance in Test matches makes him an easy choice for third place. His average is near 60, so he usually goes in right away,” Shastri remarked.

“Kohli at four for just what he’s done over the years,” the critic said, “and Smith at five for what he’s done over the years and the kind of quality they bring to the table.”

Indian all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja gained the right to bat at No.6 thanks to his ability to serve as a second spinning option in a game where bright young batters like Cameron Green have emerged as some of the most exciting prospects in cricket.

Jadeja is “one of the best all-rounders in the world,” according to Shastri, thus he will be brought in at No. 6.

Australia’s Alex Carey beat out India’s KS Bharat for the position of wicketkeeper and the No. 7 place.

In addition, Shastri said that it was difficult for him to select Nathan Lyon over India’s experienced spinner Ravichandran Ashwin for his starting XI.

Shastri explained his decision to select Nathan Lyon over Ashwin by citing Lyon’s success on the international stage.

“Not only in Australia, but outside of Australia as well, and (Lyon is) likely stronger to bowl those overs in England if necessary.

With Jadeja being more of an all-rounder and Lyon a specialist spinner, “so he comes in with Jadeja as the second spinner.”

With most of the roster taken, Shastri needed to assess his pace bowling options, which include the most dangerous bowlers available.

With Mitchell Starc, a seasoned left-arm, and two in-form right-farmers, Shastri claims he has few options when deciding on a tempo attack.

I think (Pat) Cummins is a first-rate fielder, and Mohammed Shami is vintage; he keeps improving with each IPL outing. And more powerful. Shastri said, “So he walks in there.”

Shastri pondered on the difficulty of making the final roster cuts, which included players like Ashwin, Cheteshwar Pujara, and Josh Hazlewood.

Ashwin is a world-class player, Hazelwood is a world-class player, and (Cheteshwar) Pujara has the potential to be a dangerous batsman, so it’s difficult to pick the final XI. As a result, “It’s not easy,” Shastri said.

Test XI for India against Australia, as selected by Ravi Shastri: Rohit Sharma (c), Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Virat Kohli, Steve Smith, Ravindra Jadeja, Alex Carey, Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc, Nathan Lyon, Mohammad Shami

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