WTC final: Virat Kohli reveals why India stuck with two spinners despite overcast conditions in Southampton
New Zealand decided to go into the final without even a single frontline spinner.
Updated - Jun 19, 2021 4:30 pm
After the first day got washed out due to rain without even the toss happening, the much-awaited ICC World Test Championship final between India and New Zealand got underway in Southampton on Saturday, June 19, 2021. Ahead of the first day’s play, the Indian team announced their playing XI.
There was a lot of talk about the combination which India would go in with. Some had suggested that India might play four seamers and one spinner, while others suggested that Mohammad Siraj might just get go ahead of Mohammad Shami or Ishant Sharma. Captain Virat Kohli put all those discussions to rest when he announced the playing XI with Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin, Shami, Ishant, and Jasprit Bumrah.
The balance is such that we prepare for any conditions: Virat Kohli
However, considering the overcast conditions and the lack of sunshine, it was speculated that the team might choose to drop a spinner. They could have done that because the toss didn’t happen on day one. Nevertheless, captain Virat Kohli at the toss on Saturday revealed that he has decided to stick to the same combination without any tinkering, emphasizing the balance which Jadeja and Ashwin bring to the table. New Zealand skipper Kane Williamson won the toss and elected to field first on a very overcast day in Southampton.
“We would’ve probably bowled first as well. But runs on the board have been our strength. In a big final, runs on the board, however many, are an advantage. As you saw the makeup of our side, the balance is such that we prepare for any conditions. We’ve been performing really well in Test cricket. For us this is just a Test match we have to be professional in, have to follow our processes,” Kohli said at the toss.
The confidence of playing with the two spinners in Southampton clearly comes after how well Jadeja and Ashwin have batted in recent times while also being effective with the ball in overseas conditions. Unlike India, New Zealand went into this big match with four quicks, Tim Southee, Trent Boult, Kyle Jamieson, Neil Wagner, and Colin de Grandhomme as their all-rounder at no. 7.