Bharat over Kishan in WTC XI a no brainer; Umesh over Shardul for his old ball skills: Sarandeep Singh

New Delhi: Former India selector Sarandeep Singh says picking K S Bharat over Ishan Kishan as the wicketkeeper for the World Test Championship final against Australia is a no brainer and he would also choose Umesh Yadav over Shardul Thakur in the playing eleven.

In the absence of the injured Rishabh Pant, Kishan, who is yet to play Test cricket, can provide the x-factor but Sarandeep feels Bharat walks into the eleven as the frontline wicketkeeper.

“KS Bharat for sure. He is a proper Test match wicketkeeper and we saw that against Australia at home, he kept superbly. He has been around for a while and he should get the opportunity,” Sarandeep told PTI on Wednesday.

The WTC final will be played at the Oval in London from June 7.

The former India spinner said Kishan’s time will come.

“Ishan is an opener. I am not saying he is not capable of playing Tests. He is one for the future but he opens in limited overs cricket. Things will be different at number six.

“Yes he goes hard from ball one, which can be counter productive in England, but Bharat can also bat well and play shots also,” he reasoned.

‘Umesh’s extra pace and old ball skills will come handy’:  Mohammed Shami and Mohammed Siraj, who were breathing fire in the recently-concluded IPL, will share the workload in the pace department and the Indian team will need to choose between Umesh Yadav and Shardul Thakur as the third fast bowling option.

“I am picking Umesh ahead of Shardul because he has that extra pace and he can reverse the old ball, he can be very helpful on that Oval track,” said Sarandeep.

“All of India’s batters are in good form going into the one off game and that bodes well for the team,” he said.

“I don’t see any concerns with regards to batting or bowling going into the final. All of them are in form.

“Yes, the conditions will be challenging in England as always and they will be shifting to Test mode from T20s. The weather can change on a daily basis and India will have to adapt.

“Facing bowlers like Starc, Cummins and Hazlewood is a huge challenge but we have a world class batting attack.

“Shubman is the only one who has not played a lot in England but he is in the form of his life and should do great things there,” said the 43-year-old, who was part of the selection panel when India won the historic series in Australia in 2021.”

“Australian pacers don’t swing the ball that much”: Australian pacers are used to bowling hard lengths and don’t swing the ball as much as the Indian quicks or Englishmen and Sarandeep thinks that will work in India’s favour.

“The ball has to swing first. Most of the Aussie pacers, their strength is to hit the length hard. They are not ones who swing the ball much.”

ICC trophy drought should end with WTC win: India have not won an ICC trophy since 2013 despite being touted as favourites going into the world events.

Sarandeep said the big finals are all about handling pressure and hopes India don’t have a bad day like they did at the T20 World Cup last year or the 2019 ODI World Cup semifinal against New Zealand.

“If you see even in the 2019 World Cup we won majority of the games and were favourites in the semifinals and rain comes, the game is pushed to reserve day and we lost the game.

“If you talk about last two years yes we did lose massively to Pakistan and England but things will change (in WTC),” he added.