The Indian cricket team captain Virat Kohli came out for the toss with his English counterpart Joe Root at the Kennington Oval in London earlier today. Root won the toss again, and this time he elected to bowl first. Both teams have made a couple of changes to their respective playing XIs from the Headingley Test match.
England’s wicket-keeper batsman Jos Buttler was unavailable due to personal reasons. Hence, Ollie Pope took his place. Jonny Bairstow will keep the wickets for England in this Test match. Meanwhile, Chris Woakes has returned to the Test team after an injury break. He has replaced Sam Curran. The Indian cricket team brought Shardul Thakur and Umesh Yadav in the XI, leaving Mohammad Shami and Ishant Sharma out.
What did Virat Kohli say at the toss?
Many fans expected that off-spin bowling all-rounder Ravichandran Ashwin would receive a place in the Indian playing XI. However, the Indian cricket team followed the template of four fast bowlers and one spin bowler again. They have Ravindra Jadeja as the sole spinner in the team, while the four fast bowlers are Thakur, Yadav, Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammad Siraj. At the toss, no specific reason was revealed for excluding Ashwin but Virat said Jadeja was in the team as the playing conditions would favor him.
“England has four left-handers, so a good match-up for Jadeja, with our seamers bowling over the wicket,” Virat Kohli was quoted as saying by ESPNCricinfo.
R Ashwin had performed well in his last two matches on the English soil
R Ashwin was part of the playing XI that played in the ICC World Test Championship Final against the New Zealand cricket team. Ashwin was the most successful spinner in the match, scalping four wickets in two innings.
After that game, Ashwin played one first-class match in county cricket and picked up seven wickets, including one six-wicket haul. He has also proven himself as a batting option in the lower middle-order in Test cricket. However, the Indian team management has decided against including him in the playing XI for the four-Test matches played against the England cricket team on this tour.