India and Windies will lock horns in the much-awaited first of the two-match Test series in Antigua on Thursday. It is also the start of their World Test Championship journey which makes every Test match extremely important. The visitors have some happy selection headaches as they are spoilt for choices. A lot has been said before about playing five bowlers which the Indian captain Virat Kohli is the fan of.
However, he has hinted at playing four bowlers for the series opener against the Caribbean side in the press conference on the eve of the first Test. India have four outright pacers and three spinners in their squad and three of the fast bowlers – Ishant Sharma, Mohammed Shami and Jasprit Bumrah – select themselves any day. But there are still doubts over whether they will play Ravi Ashwin as the lead spinner or Kuldeep Yadav.
Though Ravindra Jadeja isn’t in the discussions, even he has fair enough chance to play given the all-round game he brings to the fore.
How many spinners will play?
While speaking to the media, Virat Kohli indirectly cleared that the team management has made up its mind to play four bowlers and will decide the combination after looking at the pitch. “We could not look at the wicket as it was still covered. After looking at the pitch, it is more or less a choice between three quicks and a spinner or two quicks and two spinners.
“The last time England played here, pitch had quite a variable bounce so all those factors come into play. But we are very flexible and open at the moment,” he was quoted as saying by Sportstar. Rohit Sharma and Hanuma Vihari are battling for the number six position at the moment and both did well in the warm-up game. When asked who has the better chance to play among them, Kohli chose to keep his cards close to his chest and praised both the individuals.
“Look it again depends on the type of combination that we are going with. Vihari has done really well since the time he has come into the team in two difficult tours. Rohit also did well in Melbourne, so it all depends on what combination we want to go with. Vihari also gives you few overs with the ball and he is a pretty solid player.
“Rohit’s quality we have been seeing for years. So it is about who provides the best balance in terms in the XI we choose,” the 30-year-old further added while also touching upon the significance of World Test Championship.
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