Cricket-Play both spinners in WTC final, Laxman tells India

FILE PHOTO: Cricket - New Zealand v India - First Test - Basin Reserve, Wellington, New Zealand - February 22, 2020 India's Ishant Sharma during the match REUTERS/Martin Hunter

NEW DELHI (Reuters) - India should play both their spinners in the World Test Championship (WTC) final against New Zealand and pick Ishant Sharma as their third seamer, former test batsman VVS Laxman has said.

The inaugural edition of the WTC culminates with the final in Southampton from Friday and India are weighing their options for the one-off match against a New Zealand team upbeat after their 1-0 series victory against England on Sunday.

Ravichandran Ashwin is the specialist spinner in India's 15-member squad, which includes spin all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja.

"I will go with both Jadeja and Ashwin in the final," Laxman told India Today new channel.

"It is a blessing for India that these two are playing in the same generation. They not only take wickets but also score handy runs down the order, which will be very crucial in the English condition."

India captain Virat Kohli could also be tempted to play seam-bowling all-rounder Hanuma Vihari should they decide to go with one spinner.

With Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Shami set to share the new ball, 32-year-old Ishant will be vying with Mohammed Siraj for the third seamer's role.

Laxman said he would prefer the experience of Ishant, a veteran of 101 tests, to the youthful exuberance of Siraj, who made his test debut late last year.

"I'd go with Ishant, Shami, and Bumrah as my three pacers in the WTC final," said Laxman, who was known for his elegant shotmaking during his 134-test career.

"I feel Siraj is confident after the way he performed against Australia and also against England."

"What we want in the all-important final is a lot of experience, and the way Ishant has given solidity to the Indian bowling line-up has been exceptional."

(Reporting by Amlan Chakraborty in New Delhi; editing by Robert Birsel)

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