Team India’s fielding coach R Sridhar labelled the XI India named on Thursday as a team that can ‘play and perform on any surface’ and hinted towards India making no late changes despite the intervention of rain. In rainy and wet conditions, many have questioned the sanctity of picking two spinners.
On Thursday, team India announced their starting XI for the World Test Championship final, on the eve of the big game, but rain downpouring on Friday has seen many urge Virat Kohli to rethink the combination. India, in the announced XI, picked two spinners – Ashwin and Jadeja – but the intervention of rain means that, in all likelihood, there will be little help for the slower bowlers. Two years ago team India committed the mother of all blunders at Lord’s by picking two spinners under similar circumstances and thus, to avoid the same, experts have opined that India will need to be flexible with the starting XI.
But addressing the media on Friday, the team’s fielding coach, R Sridhar, indicated that such a change would be unlikely. Sridhar explained that the XI India announced on Thursday is a team capable of thriving in all conditions and surfaces.
“I think the XI which has been announced is the XI which takes the pitch and conditions out of the equation,” Sridhar said on Friday.
“I think it’s an XI which can play and perform on any given surface in any given weather conditions. So that is what I believe this XI is all about, which we will put in the park.”
Needless to say, India will still have until before toss to decide on the playing XI, and the fielding coach insisted that ‘if’ a change needs to be made, then a decision will be taken prior to the toss.
“But having that said, the toss is not yet over, so we will … if it needs to be taken, there will be a decision taken at the time of the toss,” Sridhar said.
In stark contrast, New Zealand vice-captain Tom Latham openly admitted that the Kiwis were yet to decide on their starting XI. Who among Colin de Grandhomme and Ajaz Patel will start remains a mystery, and Latham confirmed that the Blackcaps will only take a decision before the toss.
“We haven’t confirmed the final XI yet. I’m sure Kane and Steady [coach Gary Stead] have a few contingencies in place but, as I say, we’ll have to wait until the canvas comes off and we get the chance to play,” Latham said.