Virat Kohli, the Indian skipper, has hinted at an unchanged playing XI from the one that scripted the 203-run victory at Trent Bridge for the fourth Test in Southampton.
“I doubt that an all-pace attack is a right option. It doesn’t make much sense, I guess, because last time we played here the spinners came into play in the second innings. There were big footmarks. Seeing things the way they are right now, we don’t feel we need to change anything,” said the Indian captain, suggesting that Ravichandran Ashwin will stay in the team.
India excelled in all three departments of the game to clinch a big victory at Trent Bridge in the third Test. This result helped the visitors stay alive in the series, as they bounced back after losing the first two matches.
— BCCI (@BCCI) August 22, 2018
Kohli reckons that it has put his team in an exciting position in the series, but remains cautious ahead of the Southampton Test.
“Right now we understand that we are in a very exciting position to have gained momentum at the right time in the series and to have played like that when 2-0 down when everyone thought it was going to be a clean sweep or we were going to get rolled over,” he said.
“If Nottingham was hard work, this is going to be even harder, because England would want to come back strong and we understand that. We will have to (do) even better than we did in Nottingham to be able to get results our way.”
India have an exciting bowling option in their squad in the form of left-arm wrist-spinner, Kuldeep Yadav. The 23-year-old was selected in the playing XI in the second Test at Lord’s but was unimpressive, and was replaced by Jasprit Bumrah in Nottingham.
“You don’t want to keep someone who’s not going to play a lot of cricket. When you’re in England, you don’t see two spinners starting, or someone bowling over Ashwin, outright” said Kohli – interestingly, England have named both Moeen Ali and Adil Rashid in their XI.
“We wanted him to get some game time because as a wrist-spinner you need to keep bowling. He understood the idea as well, he was pretty keen to go back and play and get as many overs as possible under his belt. He’s definitely going to remain in the scheme of things, he’s that talented a bowler, but at the moment we thought this would be the best thing for him.”