WTC final nets | India brace for Starc threat, remain undecided between Kishan and Bharat

India need to decide between two spinners or a fourth pace option

June 05, 2023 11:17 pm | Updated June 06, 2023 07:09 am IST - London

Australia’s Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head and Mitchell Starc share a light moment during a practice session ahead of the match against India in the ICC World Test Championship (WTC) final, at The Oval, in London on Monday.

Australia’s Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head and Mitchell Starc share a light moment during a practice session ahead of the match against India in the ICC World Test Championship (WTC) final, at The Oval, in London on Monday. | Photo Credit: ANI

The Indians are taking the Mitchell Starc threat very seriously and if one goes by their second training session at The Oval ahead of the World Test Championship final, they are yet to decide between Ishan Kishan and KS Bharat as their wicket-keeping choice.

Australia trained in the morning in cold and overcast conditions, but the Indians brought sunshine to The Oval when they turned up in the afternoon session. Though it was an optional session, the majority of the members showed up barring Umesh Yadav, Mohammed Siraj and reserve player Suryakumar Yadav.

In the two-and-a-half-hour session, skipper Rohit Sharma closely tracked the proceedings with coach Rahul Dravid and only took throwdowns after all the main batters had a long hit in the nets.

While Scott Boland and Pat Cummins can do a lot of damage with their seam bowling, the Indians spent most of their time playing left-arm pace.

Squad member Jaydev Undakat, net bowler Aniket Choudhary and a local pacer gave the batters plenty of practice with their left-arm bowling.

Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane, Shubman Gill and Mohammed Shami were the first ones to get a hit. Shami batted for more than 30 minutes, showing that he takes his batting very seriously.

Virat Kohli hit some balls against spinners before moving to the adjacent net to face Shami and Unadkat. After that he got some crucial catching practice in the slips alongside Rahane and Gill.

Delhi offie Pulkit Narang, one of the net bowlers travelling with the side, bowled a long spell with batters using him for the tougher battles against Nathan Lyon.

India need to decide between two spinners or a fourth pace option and one could not come to a conclusion two days before the game. Ravindra Jadeja had a bowl while Ashwin only came out to bat.

Another tough choice they need to make is in the wicket-keeping department.

Both Bharat and Kishan did their wicket-keeping drills before moving to the batting nets.

The experts are divided in their choice with many backing Kishan for his better batting abilities. Bharat is being pushed as a superior wicket-keeping option. One will have to wait till the final practice session to arrive at a conclusion about the playing eleven.

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