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Shivani Shukla ∙ Jun 3 2023, 12:45 PM | 3 Min Read

WTC Final | Harbhajan Singh Makes KS Bharat-Ishan Kishan Enigma Simple for India

image-lifm24kzKS Bharat kept wickets for India during BGT 2023 | Source: Twitter

Team India is set to lock horns with Australia in the final of the World Test Championship (WTC) 2023, commencing on June 7 at the Oval as they strive to put an end to their decade-long ICC trophy drought.

Ahead of the much-anticipated marquee event, Team India has been hit hard by a series of injuries. Both Jasprit Bumrah and Rishabh Pant will miss the mega-clash, with Pant undergoing recovery following a severe accident. 

Furthermore, India's chances have been dealt a significant blow with the ruling out of KL Rahul, the star wicket-keeper batter and opener, from the World Test Championship final due to an injury. 

With a series of injuries leaving them no choice, Team India has turned to KS Bharat, who impressed with his wicket-keeping during the Border Gavaskar Trophy 2023, and Ishan Kishan, who is set to make his Test debut, as the wicket-keeper batters for the upcoming mega clash. 

Now, the question of who will be entrusted with the wicket-keeping responsibilities against Australia at the Oval has become a subject of debate since then and Harbhajan Singh has become the latest expert to voice out his opinion. 

The former India spinner stated that India should start wicket-keeping batter KS Bharat over Ishan Kishan because he has been playing consistently for some time and has good experience. 

Here’s what Harbhajan Singh said

"I don’t think he (Kishan) should be in the starting 11 because KS Bharat has been playing consistently for some time. If it was Wriddhiman Saha, then I would consider playing him because he has more experience and is a better keeper. If KL Rahul was fit, I would have played him instead, at number 5 or 6, because he is a proper opener and he could keep as well."

All depends on pitch: Harbhajan Singh

Providing further insights on how India should structure their bowling lineup for the WTC Final against Australia, Harbhajan Singh added that it will completely depend on the pitch conditions at the Oval. 

"This all depends on what the pitch is saying, if the pitch has less grass and the sun is out, then play with two spinners. If that is not the case then play three seamers and Ravindra Jadeja, along with Shardul Thakur who will not only bowl but contribute with the bat as well."

Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja emerged as India's standout performers in the recent Border-Gavaskar Trophy, with Ashwin finishing the series as the highest wicket-taker with 25 wickets and Jadeja claiming 22 wickets and contributing 157 runs.

Notably, in the final of the WTC 2021 against New Zealand at Southampton, India opted for the spin duo of Ravindra Jadeja and Ravichandran Ashwin. However, the pitch unexpectedly favoured the seamers, leading this tactical decision to backfire on India.