In a crucial decision ahead of the highly anticipated World Test Championship (WTC) final against Australia, Team India is weighing the inclusion of both R Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja in their playing XI. The last instance where both spin maestros were featured in an overseas Test XI was during the 2021 WTC final against New Zealand, which unfortunately ended in defeat for India.
While Ashwin delivered a commendable performance in that match, Jadeja’s impact was comparatively subdued. However, with the upcoming WTC final set to take place at the Oval, which has been touted as having “spin-friendly, India-like conditions” by Australian batsman Steve Smith, the inclusion of both spinners becomes a tempting proposition.
Despite such assertions, recent statistics reveal that pacers have fared better than spinners in the last 10 Tests at the Oval. This factor adds an element of complexity to the team selection. Sunil Subramanian, former coach of Ashwin, suggests that the decision will depend on the weather forecast and the performance of the fast bowlers.
Former Indian coach Ravi Shastri proposes fielding both Ashwin and Jadeja to compensate for the perceived lack of quality in the seam-bowling department. Echoing this sentiment, former Australian skipper Ricky Ponting also opines that India will opt for the Ashwin-Jadeja combination.
However, Subramanian highlights some selection discrepancies and suggests that Hardik Pandya should have been considered for the crucial encounter.