Team India finally hit the nets on Monday (August 27) after enjoying a considerable break since the culmination of the third Test at Trent Bridge on Wednesday.
India secured a comprehensive 203-run victory over England in the Nottingham Test to stay alive in the five-Test series, trailing 2-1 going into the fourth Test, starting on Thursday (August 30) at The Rose Bowl, Southampton.
Although the momentum is with the visitors, they are slightly concerned over the fitness of their premier spinner Ravichandran Ashwin, who is struggling with a groin strain.
According to a report in Times of India, Ravindra Jadeja, who is yet to play a game in the series, bowled in the nets while Ashwin was standing with team physio Patrick Farhat and trainer Shankar Basu.
Ashwin picked up the groin injury during the Nottingham Test. The off-spinner claimed just one wicket in the match. While Ashwin bowled only one over in England's first innings, he bowled 22.5 overs in the second essay and bagged the solitary scalp of James Anderson to seal the deal for India.
The Indian team management, however, continues to be hopeful that Ashwin will be able to regain full fitness ahead of the all-important fourth Test. Head coach Ravi Shastri was earlier confident about the off-spinner’s availability in Southampton.
“This break will be ideal for him. If there was a Test match starting in three days’ time, then it would have been a problem,” Shastri had said after the third Test.
If Ashwin doesn’t manage to regain his full fitness ahead of the fourth Test, left-arm spinner Jadeja will be an automatic replacement for him as he is the only specialist spinner in the 18-member squad. In the second Test at Lord’s, Kuldeep Yadav was preferred over Jadeja in the playing XI.
Both India and England had announced their squads for the fourth Test. While India had drafted in Prithvi Shaw and Hanuma Vihari in the squad to replace Murali Vijay and Kuldeep Yadav, England had recalled James Vince for Jamie Porter.
India squad for 4th & 5th Test:
Virat Kohli(c), Shikhar Dhawan, Lokesh Rahul, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane, Karun Nair, Dinesh Karthik, Rishabh Pant, Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Hardik Pandya, Ishant Sharma, Mohammed Shami, Umesh Yadav, Jasprit Bumrah, Shardul Thakur, Prithvi Shaw, Hanuma Vihari
England squad for 4th Test:
Joe Root(c), Moeen Ali, James Anderson, Jonny Bairstow, Stuart Broad, Jos Buttler, Alastair Cook, Sam Curran, Keaton Jennings, Ollie Pope, James Vince, Adil Rashid, Chris Woakes, Ben Stokes