SOUTHAMPTON, England (AP) — India is playing spinners Ravindra Jadeja and Ravichandran Ashwin in a five-man bowling attack against New Zealand in the world test championship final starting on Friday.
India surprised by announcing its team a day early on Thursday, rather than wait as long as possible to try and confirm the weather forecast, which is for poor conditions at the spin-friendly Rose Bowl.
But captain Virat Kohli said the weather was irrelevant to them.
“For us, it is about covering all the bases and making sure that we take the strongest side we can be on the park, which gives us batting depth and gives us enough bowling options as well,” Kohli said.
“We are quite clear in terms of what we want to do. The forecast is something we are not focused on. We are not going to think too much about what might change. We are not bothered with what the weather holds.”
India has gone with the five expected batsmen plus wicketkeeper Rishabh Pant, but the five bowlers are playing together for the first time. Ashwin, the world’s best offspinner, and Jadeja, the world’s best left-arm spinner, join right-arm quicks Jasprit Bumrah, Ishant Sharma and Mohammed Shami.
Jadeja and Shami missed the last series against England at home because of respective thumb and elbow injuries.
New Zealand will wait until the toss to reveal its side.
While Black Caps skipper Kane Williamson called the inaugural final “a really exciting occasion” and “incredible,” Kohli downplayed the championship concept and didn’t believe the one-off final will crown the world’s best test team.
“That is not the reality of the truth,” he said.
“(The final) is not going to reflect anything for people who really understand the game and who know exactly what has gone on over the last four or five years, and how the teams have fared. If you win this game, cricket does not stop for us; if you lose this game, cricket does not stop for us.
“For me, this is another test match that has to be played. These things are very exciting from the outside … it sort of becomes do or die. For us as a team, we have been on a quest for excellence for a while now and we will continue to be on that path regardless of what happens in this game.”
India: Rohit Sharma, Shubman Gill, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli (captain), Ajinkya Rahane, Rishabh Pant, Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin, Ishant Sharma, Mohammed Shami, Jasprit Bumrah.