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World Test Championship

Leaked Kohli-Shastri presser chat leads to buzz that Siraj might start in WTC final

by Wisden Staff 2 minute read

India’s departure to England for the World Test Championship final was preceded by a virtual press conference with Virat Kohli and Ravi Shastri, where the two were heard discussing strategy without realising they were ‘live’.

Unaware that the press conference had started, Kohli and Shastri were briefly heard discussing plans that seemed to suggest Mohammed Siraj and Mohammed Shami could start in the World Test Championship final.

In an audio clip that’s now on social media, Kohli can be heard mentioning “Lala (Mohammed Shami)” and “(Mohammed) Siraj” while discussing bowling tactics for the New Zealand batsmen, with Shastri talking about bowling round the wicket, understandably as a tactic to the left-handers in the opposite team.

The audio is muffled beyond that, although a few suggestions on social media refer to Kohli specifically singling out Shami and Siraj as options to employ for the plan.

India’s fast bowlers for the WTC final has been a subject of huge debate in the build-up to the big clash. With all quicks fit and firing, India have a problem of plenty in the pace attack. None of the four first-choice options – Jasprit Bumrah, Ishant Sharma, Mohammed Shami and Mohammed Siraj – contribute much with the bat, making it difficult to accommodate all four in the XI. The presence of Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja, and a couple of other spin all-rounders, poses further questions.

If the leaked audio suggests anything, there’s a possibility of seeing Siraj and Shami operating alongside Bumrah. It’s all speculations though, and the final planning could take a different route as the opening day approaches.

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