Indian captain Rohit Sharma has justified the decision to leave out ace off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin for the World Test Championship (WTC) final against Australia at the Kennington Oval. The right-handed batter remarked that the conditions demanded playing four seamers due to which they took that decision.
Ravichandran Ashwin has been one of India's biggest match-winners, especially in home conditions. The veteran spinner played a significant role in India's Test series win over the Aussies earlier this year. However, he hasn't been able to sneak into India's playing eleven in overseas Tests.
Speaking at the toss, Rohit admitted that Ashwin has been a match-winner; however, they had to take the decision of leaving him out. The 35-year-old also admitted that Ajinkya Rahane's return brings a lot to the team.
"We are going to bowl. Just the conditions and also the weather being overcast. I don't think the pitch will change too much. You have to play good cricket and come out on top. Four seamers and one spinner. The spinner is Jadeja. It's always tough (to leave Ashwin), he's been a match-winner for us over the course of so many years. But you got to do the things that's needed for the team and eventually we came up with that decision. He (Rahane) brings a lot of experience, he's played 80-odd Test matches and he's done well for the team. He's been out for a while, but I don't think the experience that he has can change all of that."
India and Australia playing XI for WTC final:
India (Playing XI): Rohit Sharma(c), Shubman Gill, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane, Srikar Bharat(w), Ravindra Jadeja, Shardul Thakur, Umesh Yadav, Mohammed Shami, Mohammed Siraj.
Australia (Playing XI): David Warner, Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Steven Smith, Travis Head, Cameron Green, Alex Carey(w), Pat Cummins(c), Mitchell Starc, Nathan Lyon, Scott Boland