Former England spinner Monty Panesar has picked Ravindra Jadeja to play ahead of Ravichandran Ashwin in the highly-awaited ICC World Test Championship final between India and England at The Rose Bowl, Southampton, starting June 18. Panesar strongly believes the dynamic all-rounder will be India’s ‘X-factor’ for Virat Kohli-led Team India in the WTC final. Playing for Chennai Super Kings, Jadeja showed glimpses of his superb form in the IPL 2021 both with the bat and ball. After missing the home Test series against England, Jadeja bounced back in style to competitive cricket. In absence of Jadeja, Ashwin was named the Man of the Series for his all-round show versus England.Also Read - Speed Gun ERROR Shows Ravichandran Ashwin's Delivery Clocked at 131Kmph During Qualifier 1
The 39-year-old English spinner believes that Jadeja’s bowling, fielding, and decent batting will give India the slight edge they would need. In the past few years, Jadeja has made remarkable improvements in his batting – since the start of 2017, he averages 50.27 with the bat with 11 fifties and a century to his name. Also Read - IPL 2022: Ravichandran Ashwin Finds The Purpose Of Playing Cricket ; The Spinner Explains
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-arm give him an upper hand, Panesar was quoted by IndiaTV. Also Read - IPL 2022: Rajasthan Royals Understood The True Potential Of Ravichandran Ashwin's Abilities, Reckons Harbhajan Singh
Panesar added that while a lot will depend on how the ICC prepares the pitch for the inaugural WTC final, ‘spinners will also play a crucial role’ in the summit clash.
“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 added.
During the IPL 2021 season, which was postponed indefinitely on May 4 due to a breach in the bio-secure bubble, CSK all-rounder Jadeja amassed 131 runs at 162.32 and picked up six wickets.