Dinesh Karthik brings bad news for Ashwin and Jadeja before WTC final; Rohit, Gill might feel uneasy too at The Oval

Jun 06, 2023 06:50 PM IST

Playing both Jadeja and Ashwin will be tricky in the WTC final if the photos of The Oval pitch shared by Dinesh Karthik is anything to go by.

Dinesh Karthik has landed in London and his tweets have already created a lot of buzz ahead of India vs Australia WTC final. Karthik, who is set to be a part of the broadcasting team in England, shared the first proper image of the pitch for the WTC final. While it was a welcome sight for the all fans waiting to see the 22-yards, it may not be great news for India's ace spinners Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja and to a certain extent even the openers Shubman Gill and Rohit Sharma.

Dinesh Karthik and Ravindra Jadeja
Dinesh Karthik and Ravindra Jadeja

Karthik shared the photographs of The Oval pitch on Monday, two days before the final begins. The pitch had an even covering of grass and naturally, was distinctively green. The groundstaff has enough time to shave some of the grass covering but it is unlikely that the pitch will be bereft of the green tinge when the action begins. This means, there will be a lot of swing on offer for the pacers, particularly with the new ball.

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This also means, playing both Jadeja and Ashwin will be tricky. The spin-bowling all-rounders have played a major role in taking India to their second successive WTC final but playing both of them in the XI can leave India a seamer short. If the pitch stays this way, then the chances of India going in with four specialist quicks will increase, unless, of course, the sun bakes down, drying out all the moisture that is available.

Dinesh Karthik shares photos of The Oval pitch for India vs Australia WTC final

Going by the current temperature, which is around 14-15 degrees during the day and forecast for the week, that is unlikely. There is rain forecast during the weekend while the first three days of the Test might see cloudy and overcast conditions.

India made the mistake of ignoring the overcast and rainy conditions by playing both Ashwin and Jadeja in the last WTC final. Ashwin and Jadeja could not get a lot of purchase from the track but the four New Zealand seamers, on the other hand, out-bowled the Indian quicks.

India captain Rohit Sharma and head coach Rahul Dravid, therefore, will have their tasks cut out. If they indeed decide to go with four seamers then who will be the lone spinner? Considering Jadeja's batting abilities, he should get the edge over Ashwin, especially after Rishabh Pant's injury has left India's middle order thin. But can Ashwin's superior bowling in overseas conditions be ignored?

What will be India's XI for WTC final if Ashwin plays as lone spinner?

Let's see how India can feature Ashwin in their XI. To figure that out, we need to find aspects that go in Ashwin's favour. Firstly, he is the better spinner of the two and will be a wicket-taking option in English conditions. Secondly, Australia have as many as four left-handers - David Warner, Usman Khawaja, Travis Head and Alex Carey - in their top seven. Ashwin's record against the lefties is second to none. Last, but not the least, he has troubled both Labuschagne and Steve Smith in the past.

Now, what should be India's team composition if Ashwin plays? India clearly will need more firepower in the batting unit if they leave out Jadeja and play Ashwin. This could mean, Ishan Kishan in place of KS Bharat and Shardul Thakur as the fourth seamer in place of Jaydev Unadkat. Kishan can then bat at six, followed by Ashwin and Thakur, who is a better bet with the bat in hand among all Indian pacers.

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