The third Test between England and India is all set to get underway tomorrow, August 25 in Headingley. Given the conditions, which are likely to be favourable for spin bowling, many believe that India will include Ravichandran Ashwin in the playing XI. However, Indian skipper Virat Kohli has hinted at going in with an unchanged XI.
Kohli said there is no need to change the winning combination. But he didn’t completely rule out the possibility of Ashwin getting a game either by saying they will pick the squad after analysing the conditions. Over the years, Headingley has offered plenty of assistance to the spinners thus it will be interesting to see what combination India prefer to go in with.
“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.
England’s campaign has been jolted by injuries to key bowlers. Also, their ace all-rounder Ben Stokes pulled out of the series citing mental health issues. There is no denying the fact that England are not playing their best squad but Kohli feels India would have defeated England if all their players were available.
“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.
Meanwhile, England too are likely to make few changes in the playing XI, some forced while others in a desperate attempt to fix their batting woes. Mark Wood has been ruled out due to injury and will be replaced by one of Saqib Mahmood or Craig Overton. Also, Dawid Malan is likely to get a game in place of Dom Sibley.