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Mumbai, April 26 – Batting legend Sunil Gavaskar, former India all-rounder Irfan Pathan and off-spinner Harbhajan Singh welcomed the national selectors’ decision to bring back Ajinkya Rahane for the World Test Championship final in London in June.
The BCCI has announced the Indian squad for the World Test Championship Final scheduled to begin on June 7 at Kennington Oval against Australia.
Senior India batter Rahane made his India comeback on the back of a stellar show in the Ranji Trophy and followed it up with a brilliant run in the IPL for Chennai Super Kings.
Former India captain Sunil Gavaskar hailed the selection of Rahane in the Test side as a replacement for Shreyas Iyer and claimed the Mumbaikar has been rewarded for a good show in the domestic circuit.
Speaking on Star Sports’ Cricket Live, Sunil Gavaskar said, “That was the only change needed for the Indian side. They needed a replacement for Shreyas Iyer. Ajinkya Rahane finds himself in the WTC squad not because of his current IPL form, mind you, he was in a pretty decent form in the Ranji Trophy. He did very well for Mumbai in the domestic season. The question now is in the final eleven, who’s going to be playing? Whether it will be KS Bharat the wicket-keeper or KL Rahul. We’ll just have to wait and see.”
While picking his Playing 11 for the WTC Final, Gavaskar said, “Rohit Sharma and Shubman Gill will be my opening picks, Cheteshwar Pujara at three, Virat Kohli at four, Ajinkya Rahane at five, KL Rahul at six who’ll keep the wickets as well. Then there will be Ravindra Jadeja and Ravichandran Ashwin, followed by Jaidev Unadkat, Mohammed Shami and Mohd Siraj.”
Former India cricketer Irfan Pathan also reckoned that Rahane’s past performances in overseas conditions will bode well for him.
Speaking on Star Sports’ Cricket Live, Irfan Pathan said, “Had Shreyas Iyer been fit then Rahane would not have got the place in the WTC Final side. But as far as the current form is concerned, he is looking in great touch. The format in which he is playing now is completely different but Rahane’s performance on foreign pitches has always been good and this has gone in his favour.”
Former India cricketer Harbhajan Singh, however, opined that Suryakumar Yadav should have also been kept in the squad along with Rahane because SKY can accelerate the scoring with his ability to play 360-degree shots.
“I would have kept both Surya and Rahane in the team. I would have played Surya instead of Axar because you are not going to play with three spinners in English conditions. In such a situation, having Surya in the team would have given an additional advantage to the batting line-up,” Harbhajan Singh told Star Sports.