Former Indian fast bowler Zaheer Khan has suggested two changes to India’s playing XI, which he thinks the team should make for the fourth Test match.
Khan feels India should bring in Ravichandran Ashwin as the Oval pitch will provide assistance to the spinners, especially in the second innings.
Ashwin has been in good form in the recent past in foreign conditions and he can also contribute with the bat while batting down the order. The off-spinner had scalped 12 wickets against Australia in the three-Test matches he played and had troubled Steven Smith in the first two games.
Subsequently, he had picked four wickets in the WTC final against New Zealand but he was surprisingly dropped from the first three Test matches against England. On the other hand, Ravindra Jadeja has scalped only two wickets in three Test matches and he was also taken for a knee scan after the third Test match.
Zaheer Khan said while talking to Cricbuzz, “The opportunity is there for the taking and I believe this change (bringing in Ravichandran Ashwin) should be made. You should first see how to fit Ravindra Jadeja is… but even if he’s playing, India should go for this change because if you look at the history of The Oval, spin definitely dominates in the second innings.”
“In the WTC final, the way Team India approached the game – going with Jadeja and Ashwin both because they are among the best five bowlers – they should go back to that because spin will have a huge impact at this ground.”
“You’ll have to see which bowler didn’t look in rhythm in the last game and also how you started the series. From that perspective, I believe you might not see Ishant Sharma play in this match.”
On the other hand, Zaheer feels India can also play Shardul Thakur in place of Mohammed Siraj as the former can give the visitors a batting cushion. Thakur had scalped four wickets in the first Test match but was ruled out of the Lords’ Test due to a hamstring injury.
“If you are looking for more contributions with the bat, you can also think about Siraj – both from a workload-management perspective and for strengthening the batting. Shardul is such a player who can be used as a bowling all-rounder… and will provide that extra cushion in batting.”