‘I haven’t said Ashwin won't play': Rohit on Jadeja's chances and India's spin attack for WTC final vs Australia

Jun 06, 2023 07:54 PM IST

Jadeja is likely to be India's lone spinner and also the No.6 batter while Siraj, Shami, Shardul and Uandkat are likely to be the four pacers.

The chances of Ravichandran Ashwin playing the World Test Championship final against Australia appear to be slim as of now. The weather has changed a lot in the last couple of days and currently, it is cold, and overcast while the pitch at The Oval has an even covering of grass. The weather forecast for the next few days is quite similar. In fact, the chances of rain increase as we head into the weekend. This means that despite having two of the best spin-bowling all-rounders in the world - Ravindra Jadeja and Ravichandran Ashwin, India can't afford to field them both in the XI.

India captain Rohit Sharma addresses a press conference ahead of the test match against Australia in the ICC World Test Championship (WTC) final at The Oval, in London on Tuesday.(ANI)
India captain Rohit Sharma addresses a press conference ahead of the test match against Australia in the ICC World Test Championship (WTC) final at The Oval, in London on Tuesday.(ANI)

Because of the injury to Rishabh Pant and KL Rahul, India's middle-order is pretty light and hence, they can't afford to drop Ravindra Jadeja and play Ashwin, the better bowler, if they go in with only one spinner. As things stand now, Jadeja is likely to be India's lone spinner and also the No.6 batter while Mohammed Siraj, Mohammed Shami, Shardul Thakur and Jaydev Uandkat are likely to be the four pacers.

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India captain Rohit Sharma, however, insisted to wait till Wednesday to find out India's final XI.

"Yeah, see, I've not said that Ashwin is not going to play. We'll wait until tomorrow - because one thing I have seen here - the pitch actually changes quite a bit from day to day. Today it's looking the way it is. Tomorrow it might be slightly different, who knows. So the message to the boys has been very clear, all 15 must be ready to play at any point in time. And we'll see the conditions tomorrow as well and make that decision as to who gets into that playing 11," he said on Tuesday.

He also talked about the changing nature of the pitch as the Test match progresses.

"I'll go and have a look at the pitch. But yeah, it looks a bit of help for the seamers definitely. With the overhead conditions as well, it's going to assist seamers a fair bit. I don't know how drastically the pitch changes quite a bit in this part of the world. Like, when we played the last test match here in Oval, it looked very similar to this. And then as the game went on, as the day went on, it got better and better, slower and slower. And the reverse swing came into play as well on day 5th. So, yeah, we're going to consider all of those factors and see what will be the right combination for us to go."

When asked about the straight jump from a two-month-long IPL to an important Test match like the WTC fina, Rohit said this is not something new to the Indian players. The opener added that this is exactly why the team management rotates players.

We've been playing cricket like this for the last, I don't know how many years, series after series. I don't know when was the last time we had a good amount of break. But honestly, all the guys are used to playing a lot of cricket now. That is why we talk about workload management. We try and rest players wherever we can to make sure that they are fresh for this upcoming series and things like that. This is part of your job now. You do understand that there's a lot of cricket that has been played. But it's important to manage the players, manage their loads, make sure that they're fresh and we are trying everything we can from our side to make sure that everyone's fresh and it's not just now - even last year we played IPL, then we came to UK we played that test match and then we played three ODIs, three T20s after that. So it's been happening almost every year now like that. So it's nothing new for us. We are quite used to this kind of schedule. But that is where the management comes into play of managing players and their workloads.

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