R Ashwin not playing: India have made three changes to their Playing XI from the team which played the World Test Championship final.
During the first day of the first Test of the ongoing India’s tour of England in Nottingham, England captain Joe Root has won the toss and chose to bat.
“We’re going to bat first. It looks like a reasonable wicket, a little bit of movement. If we get off to a good start in the first hour, we could capitalize. Always exciting to play a big series like this. And hopefully we could perform really well.
“As you progress as a Test player, there comes the responsibility and there is an opportunity for the guys to take what Ben Stokes has left in his absence,” Root told Sky Sports at the toss.
Talking about their combination for the Trent Bridge Test, England have included batsman Jonny Bairstow and excluded spinner Jack Leach to included a four-man pace attack.
Why is R Ashwin not playing 1st Test between England and India in Nottingham?
Much like Root, India captain Virat Kohli also wanted to bat first but losing the toss on yet another occasion left him with no option. “Last time England chose to bowl first here, and we would have wanted to bat first as well. We would look to get in with the ball in the first session, and a few early breakthroughs will be handy.
“The opportunity to win in England and Australia in the same year is rare. To get opportunities in such times to play and play in front of crowds as well, we are grateful,” Kohli told Sky Sports at the toss.
Surprising one and all on the first day of the series, Kohli announced that they’ve not included ace spinner Ravichandran Ashwin. Having picked 88 wickets in 19 Tests at an average and strike rate of 28.59 and 61.8 respectively including six five-wicket hauls, Ashwin is India’s highest wicket-taker against England among active players.
While Kohli wasn’t asked about the rationale behind benching Ashwin, it seems to have been done to accommodate all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja and a four-man pace attack comprising of Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami, Mohammed Siraj and Shardul Thakur.
— Michael Vaughan (@MichaelVaughan) August 4, 2021
A significant change at the top of the order is that batsman Lokesh Rahul has been included to replace the injured pair of Shubman Gill and Mayank Agarwal. Playing a Test after almost two years, Rahul has 2,006 runs under his belt in 36 Tests at an average of 34.58 including five centuries and 11 half-centuries.