Team India captain Rohit Sharma has that leaving out Ravichandran Ashwin from the playing XI for the World Test Championship (WTC) final against Australia was a tough decision. He, however, added that the call had to be made keeping the conditions in mind.
There was a big debate over India’s bowling combination heading into the WTC 2023 final, which began on Wednesday (June 7) at The Oval. Looking at the overcast conditions, India decided to go in with four seamers and a lone spin option in Ravindra Jadeja.
After winning the toss and deciding to bowl first, Rohit confirmed India’s bowling combination:
“(We are going in with) four seamers and one spinner. The spinner is Jadeja.”
Elaborating on the decision to leave out Ashwin, Rohit added:
“It is tough to leave Ashwin out. He has been a match-winner for us; it is not a great occasion to leave him out, but you have got to do what is best for the team in the given conditions.”
On India’s decision to bowl first, the 36-year-old explained:
“It’s 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.”
The WTC final also marks the comeback of middle-order batter Ajinkya Rahane following an impressive Indian Premier League (IPL) 2023 campaign. Asked about the Mumbai batter’s return, Rohit said:
“He brings in a lot of experience. He has 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.”
Meanwhile, Australian captain Pat Cummins admitted that he, too, would have fielded first had he won the toss.
India vs Australia WTC 2023 Final playing XIs
India: Rohit Sharma (c), Shubman Gill, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane, Srikar Bharat (wk), Ravindra Jadeja, Shardul Thakur, Umesh Yadav, Mohammed Shami, Mohammed Siraj
Australia: David Warner, Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Steven Smith, Travis Head, Cameron Green, Alex Carey (wk), Pat Cummins (c), Mitchell Starc, Nathan Lyon, Scott Boland