Indian skipper Virat Kohli has hinted at going in with an unchanged playing XI for the third Test. India picked up an emphatic win at Lords and Kohli feels there is no need to tinker with the winning combination. Given the conditions in Headingley, which is favourable for spin bowling, speculations were rife that India may include Ravichandran Ashwin for the third Test. However, If Kohli’s words are taken, then Ashwin is likely to be benched in the next game as well. Ashwin though is not completely out of contention with Kohli saying they will pick the squad as per the conditions.
“We don’t have any reason to change anything unless people have niggles, which we haven’t encountered. A winning combination, you don’t want to disturb. Especially after the second Test and players are even more excited to take field. As far as Ashwin playing is concerned, we were surprised to see the surface at Lord’s.
“I didn’t expect, I thought there would be more grass and spice. Anything is possible, we name a 12 and then according to conditions we pick,” Virat Kohli said in the pre-match press conference.
Meanwhile, England are not playing their best squad, with multiple players ruled out due to injuries. They also lost the services of their talisman Ben Stokes, who pulled out of the series citing mental health issues. When questioned if this is India’s best chance to claim a series win against a weakened England in their home conditions, Kohli said India don’t wait for the opposition to be weak, adding they can beat anyone in any conditions.
“Does that (best chance to beat weakened England in Test series) depend on the strength of the opposition? Even when the key players are playing, we think we can beat anyone. We don’t wait for the opposition to be weak,” the 32-year-old further added.