Former England captain Nasser Hussain has unveiled his combined Test XI from the two teams set to clash in the World Test Championship (WTC) final, featuring only one specialist spinner. Hussain had the tough task of selecting his team from a pool of talented spinners, including Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Nathan Lyon, and Todd Murphy, who all had impressive performances leading up to the final.
Hussain justified his choice, explaining, "If the World Test Championship Final was in the subcontinent or India, I might go Jadeja at six. But I'm not, because it's in England." Instead, he opted for the bowling all-rounder Cameron Green as his all-rounder choice, citing his recent success with both bat and ball. Hussain placed Ashwin at number eight, highlighting his valuable batting skills as well.
The top order of Hussain's combined Test XI consists of experienced batsmen with an impressive track record. Rohit Sharma, who also assumes the captaincy, was an easy choice for the opening spot, while Usman Khawaja was selected to partner him. The middle order is packed with three all-time greats: Marnus Labuschagne, Steve Smith, and Virat Kohli, who come in at numbers three, four, and five, respectively.
The wicketkeeper position posed a challenge for Hussain due to Rishabh Pant's absence following an injury. While India is yet to decide between KS Bharat and Ishan Kishan, Hussain chose Australian keeper Alex Carey for his team, hoping he would regain his form in more familiar conditions at The Oval.
With only one specialist spinner in the team, Hussain had the luxury of selecting from a pool of talented pacers. Pat Cummins secured the number nine spot, while Mitchell Starc's left-arm variation earned him the number ten position. Mohammed Shami completed the lineup at number 11, with Hussain acknowledging his exceptional seam position.
As cricket enthusiasts eagerly await the WTC final, Hussain's combined Test XI showcases the wealth of talent from both teams. The selection reflects the conditions and circumstances surrounding the match, with Hussain's emphasis on the English conditions and the need for a balanced team composition. The final XI combines experience, skill, and the ability to perform under pressure, making it an exciting prospect for the much-anticipated WTC final.
Nasser Hussain's combined India-Australia Test XI: Rohit Sharma (c), Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Steve Smith, Virat Kohli, Cameron Green, Alex Carey (wk), Ravichandran Ashwin, Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc, Mohammad Shami