The 2023 edition of ICC World Test Championship (WTC) Final between India and Australia is all set to get underway on June 7 at the Oval in London.
Ahead of the marquee clash, India’s team composition is a major topic of debate. While some experts feel that India should go with two spinners and three pacers in their playing XI, a few of them have opined that playing four fast bowlers is the way to go in English conditions.
Earlier this year, India defeated Australia by a 2-1 margin in the home Test series, with the spin duo of R Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja sharing 47 scalps between them.
On the other hand, India boast fast-bowling depth with Mohammad Shami, Mohammed Siraj, Umesh Yadav and Jaydev Unadkat featuring in the squad alongside all-rounder Shardul Thakur.
Addressing a press conference on the eve of the match, India skipper Rohit Sharma remained tight-lipped regarding the inclusion of star off-spinner Ashwin in the playing XI.
"I've not said that Ashwin is not going to play. We'll wait until tomorrow - because one thing I have seen here - the pitch actually changes quite a bit day to day," Rohit told reporters.
"Today it's looking the way it is. Tomorrow it might be slightly different, who knows. So the message to the boys has been very clear, all 15 must be ready to play at any point in time," he added.
The pitch appeared greenish a day before the game and if conditions remain overcast in the morning, an extra pace option will come in handy.
"I saw it (pitch) yesterday, I didn't have a chance to see it today. But yeah, it looks a bit of help for the seamers definitely. With the overhead conditions as well, it's going to assist seamers a fair bit.
"I don't know how drastically but the pitch changes quite a bit in this part of the world. Like, when we played the last test match here in Oval, it looked very similar to this.
"And then as the game went on, as the day went on, it got better and better, slower and slower. And the reverse swing came into play as well on day 5th. So, yeah, we're going to consider all of those factors (before deciding eleven)," said the Indian captain.
India lost to New Zealand by eight wickets in the inaugural WTC final in Southampton two years ago. Back then, the decision to play two spinners had backfired.
"Last time we played, we did make a few mistakes, which we have already spoken about in this group. And yeah, we know exactly what went wrong for us in the last championship final. So we hopefully will not repeat those kind of things," Rohit said.
Team India flew to UK for the WTC final soon after the two-month long IPL 2023 season came to an end.
When Rohit was asked about the fatigue factor, he replied: "We've been playing cricket like this for the last, I don't know how many years, series after series. I don't know when was the last time we had a good amount of break. But honestly, all the guys are used to playing a lot of cricket now."
(With PTI Inputs)