In a crucial move, Indian captain Rohit Sharma won the toss and elected to bowl first against Australia in the highly anticipated World Test Championship final at The Oval. The decision was accompanied by excluding premier spinner Ravichandran Ashwin from the playing XI. India opted for a bowling combination consisting of four pacers and Ravindra Jadeja as the sole spinner.
Rohit acknowledged the difficulty of leaving out Ashwin but emphasized that pitch conditions and the prediction of overcast weather throughout the Test influenced the team’s strategy.
Addressing the decision to exclude Ashwin, who currently holds the top spot in the ICC Test Rankings for bowlers, Rohit admitted that it was a challenging call for the team management. Ashwin has been a match-winner for India over the years, making the decision even tougher. However, Rohit highlighted the necessity of prioritizing the team’s requirements and making decisions accordingly.
“It’s always tough. He’s been a match-winner for us over many years. So, leaving him out was tough. But you got to do the things that are needed for the team. So, eventually, we came up with that decision,” Rohit told the toss commentator Hussain.
Rohit emphasized that the prevailing conditions and the expected overcast weather in London during the Test match influenced the decision to go with four pacers and one spinner. The captain believed the pitch would remain consistent, making it conducive for seam bowling. Ravindra Jadeja, known for his all-round abilities, was chosen as the team’s spinner, adding variety to the attack.
India’s bowling lineup for the WTC final consists of Mohammed Shami, Mohammed Siraj, Umesh Yadav, and Shardul Thakur as the four pacers. Ajinkya Rahane, who returns to the Test XI after over a year, strengthens the batting order. KS Bharat retains his place as the wicketkeeper, maintaining continuity from the Border-Gavaskar Trophy earlier this year despite speculation about Ishan Kishan’s inclusion.
“The conditions and also the weather being overcast. The pitch won’t change too much. Four seamers and one spinner. The spinner is Jadeja,” said Rohit further.
India enters the World Test Championship final, aiming to secure their first title in the tournament’s history. The team endured a defeat to New Zealand in the inaugural edition, making their pursuit of the championship even more significant. With a balanced lineup comprising an impressive pace attack and the presence of experienced batsmen, India aims to clinch victory and etch their name in Test cricket’s illustrious annals.
India’s XI: Rohit Sharma(c), Shubman Gill, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane, Srikar Bharat(w), Ravindra Jadeja, Shardul Thakur, Umesh Yadav, Mohammed Shami, Mohammed Siraj