Dubai, May 31 (IANS) Former England skipper Nasser Hussain has picked only one specialist spinner in the combined Test XI he would select from the two teams set to meet in the World Test Championship final.
Hussain could find room for only one tweaker in a combined Test XI ahead of their rematch in the ICC World Test Championship final in London.
Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja took a combined 47 wickets as India retained the Border-Gavaskar Trophy on home soil, while Australia spinners Nathan Lyon and newcomer Todd Murphy were also a threat with 36 scalps apiece.
Lyon (81) and Ashwin (61) were also among the leading wicket-takers across the WTC cycle, but only one spinner from the two teams could earn a spot in the former England skipper’s combined Test XI.
“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,” Hussain told The ICC Review.
“I’m going to go for a bowling all-rounder, seam-bowler in Cameron Green. That’s who I want as my all-rounder.
“My spin bowler would be Ravi Ashwin at eight. And he bats, obviously, very good at No.8.”
Green smashed a maiden Test ton when the teams last met in Ahmedabad in March, after taking a first five-wicket haul against South Africa at the MCG in late 2022.
The five batters to come in ahead of Australia’s rising star in Hussain’s combined Test XI bring much more experience to the contest and have 91 Test centuries between them.
“Rohit Sharma, very easy, top of the order and captain for me. I love the way Rohit captains,” Hussain said.
“I’d like to have Shubman (Gill) in but I think it’s just a little bit early for him to break into my combined XI, so I’m going to go with Usman Khawaja to open the batting.
“Then into the very easy bit, three of the all-time world greats in (Marnus) Labuschagne, (Steve) Smith and (Virat) Kohli come in at three, four, five.”
India wicketkeeper Rishabh Pant will miss the WTC Final after being injured in a motor vehicle incident in January, and it is still to be decided whether KS Bharat or Ishan Kishan will take the gloves.
Australia keeper Alex Carey found runs hard to come by in India but is sure to have an opportunity to turn that form around in more familiar conditions at The Oval.
“Wicketkeeper is a bit hard because of the injury to Rishabh Pant. I would just have him in straight away, no questions asked, but he’s not there. He’s injured, unfortunately,” Hussain said.
“India is still trying to work out which one they’re going to play, so I’m going to go with Alex Carey as my keeper at seven.”
With only one spinner in Hussain’s combined Test XI the cricketer-turned-commentator has the luxury of choosing between a host of top-line pacers to fill the remaining spots.
“(Pat) Cummins at nine, easy choice. (Mitchell) Starc at 10 to give me that left-arm variation,” Hussain said.
“Mohammed Shami, just so that we can have so many replays of his seam position going down.
“I would have obviously Jasprit in there if he wasn’t injured, but he is so I’m having Shami at 11.”
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