Cricket pundit Monty Panesar has asserted that the World Test Championship finale between India and New Zealand will see spinners playing a crucial role too, apart from the pacers. He also named all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja as India's X-factor for the coveted clash that takes place next month.
There is a lot of buzz around India and New Zealand's World Test Championship finale that will take place from June 18 onwards in Southampton. Now, there's hardly any game that's not greatly influenced by the pitch. In fact, it turns out to be one of the decisive factors, especially in modern-day cricket. Now, India might not be getting an ideal preparation for the WTC finale like New Zealand by playing two Tests against England or reaching the United Kingdom earlier, getting acclimatized to the conditions but the pitch at Southampton can come handy for the Virat-Kohli led side.
When India last played at the Ageas Bowl in 2018, the wicket had plenty of assistance for spinners, though it played out against India as English spinner Moeen Ali scalped nine wickets in the game to break the back bone of the visitors. However, India won't complain if the wicket does provide some assistance for spinners given the phenomenal run of R Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja of late. Former England spinner Monty Panesar has predicted that the spinners will also play a crucial role in the WTC finale, especially with the hosts not featuring in the game.
"Spinners will also play a crucial role in the WTC final in Southampton. We'll have to see how the ICC prepares the pitch for the event. For the Test series, England will obviously go with a green wicket. But for the WTC final, I think the ICC should prepare a neutral wicket. It'll be the perfect advertisement for the WTC if the final spans over 4 or 5 days," Panesar told India TV, reported HT.
Ravindra Jadeja was supposed to be India's first-choice spinner in Australia, earlier this year, but then injury ruled him out of the series that gave R Ashwin the chance to prosper. And he hasn't looked back from there onwards, scalping 44 wickets in seven Tests and proving his caliber in Australia before dismantling England at home. Despite that, Monty Panesar is backing Ravindra Jadeja to play over Ashwin and in fact, he termed Jadeja India's X-factor for the WTC finale.
"For me, Ravindra Jadeja will be the X-factor. He's been in terrific form in the IPL. If India decides to go with just one spinner, I'll go with Jadeja instead of R Ashwin as the spin-bowling option. Jadeja's defensive bowling skill and being a left-armer give him an upper hand," added Panesar.