Virat Kohli’s justification: The Indian captain explained why they have stuck with the four-pacer combination in the fourth Test.
India opening batsmen Rohit Sharma and Lokesh Rahul have responded perfectly after being put in to bat by England captain Joe Root on the first day of the fourth Test of the ongoing India’s tour of England for the Pataudi Trophy at The Oval.
Despite playing under a cloud cover, there has been a lack of swing for the English new-ball bowlers which has helped Sharma and Rahul to not just get their eyes in but also find boundaries frequently.
Having said that, playing a Test match after more than a year, England all-rounder Chris Woakes drew first blood in only his first over when Sharma was caught behind after scoring 11 (27).
Readers must note that both England and India have made a couple of changes to their Playing XIs for this match. While England have included Ollie Pope and Chris Woakes for Jos Buttler and Sam Curran, India have brought in Shardul Thakur and Umesh Yadav for Ishant Sharma and Mohammed Shami.
Virat Kohli’s justification behind R Ashwin’s omission at The Oval
“Two changes – Ishant [Sharma] and [Mohammed] Shami have niggles – Umesh [Yadav] and Shardul [Thakur] are back,” India captain Virat Kohli told Sky Sports at the toss.
The development has resulted in India taking the field without ace spinner Ravichandran Ashwin for the fourth consecutive time in this series. Given how spinners come into the play at The Oval, there were chances of the visitors playing both all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja and Ashwin here.
“England have four left-handers, so a good match-up for [Ravindra] Jadeja, with our seamers bowling over the wicket,” Kohli had provided a justification behind them not playing Ashwin whilst also highlighting the importance of a No. 7 batsman in Jadeja.
In the general run of things, the presence of four left-handers in the opposition’s batting line-up is enough a reason for a team to play their premier off-spinner. Not that Kohli’s explanation was illogical considering how he hinted at Jadeja using the rough created by the fast bowlers from the other end.
However, the prospect of Ashwin being benched yet again was too hard to digest for not just Indian fans but experts all round the globe as well.
Twitter reactions on R Ashwin not playing 4th Test vs England:
— Michael Vaughan (@MichaelVaughan) September 2, 2021
I really hope it works but I am flabbergasted that India have gone in without Ashwin again.
— Harsha Bhogle (@bhogleharsha) September 2, 2021
So so surprised not to see Ashwin as part of the Test match🤷🏽♀️#offiessticktogether
— Lisa Sthalekar (@sthalekar93) September 2, 2021
Sooooooo… how are we all feeling about the absence of Ashwin in this Test? #ENGvIND
— Melinda Farrell (@melindafarrell) September 2, 2021
Two Indian bowlers are left out and still no place for Ashwin. Weird.
— John Etheridge (@JohnSunCricket) September 2, 2021
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