Jadeja will be the ‘X-factor’ for India in WTC final

Former England left-arm spinner Monty Panesar feels all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja “will be the X-factor” when India take on the Kane Williamson-led New Zealand in the World Test Championship (WTC) final at the Ageas Bowl in Southampton from June 18 onwards.

Panesar said on Saturday that while a lot will depend on how the International Cricket Council (ICC) prepares the pitch for the inaugural WTC final, “spinners will also play a crucial role” in the summit clash.

“For me, Ravindra Jadeja will be the X-factor. He’s been in terrific form in the Indian Premier League. If India decides to go with just one spinner, I’ll go with Jadeja instead of (Ravichandran) Ashwin as the spin-bowling option. Jadeja’s defensive bowling skill and being a left-armer give him an upper hand,” Panesar told media.

During the IPL 2021 season, which was postponed indefinitely on May 4 due to a breach in the bio-secure bubble, Chennai Super Kings all-rounder Jadeja amassed 131 runs at 162.32 and picked up six wickets.

Panesar who was a part of the England side between 2006 and 2013 and played a half century of Tests, taking 167 wickets, added that for the five-match Test series against India after the WTC final, England would bring in the home advantage and “go with green wickets”.

“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 said.