WTC final: Why India will persist with playing XI despite rain

Written by Vishwas Gupta

India’s fielding coach Ramakrishnan Sridhar ruled out the possibility of a change in the playing XI after the opening day of the ICC World Test Championship final against New Zealand was washed out, insisting that the chosen players are capable of making conditions irrelevant.

Persistent heavy drizzle through the day meant that play was abandoned without even the toss taking place.

When asked if India would still like to go in with three pacers and two specialist spinners with rain expected for the remainder of the Test, Sridhar replied: “I was expecting this to be first question. The eleven that has been announced is eleven that takes conditions out of equation.”

“I think its the eleven which can play and perform on any given surface and any given weather conditions. This eleven that has been put on park. If need be, a decision will be taken.”

The first day’s play being abandoned means that if required, four hours of play will be possible on the sixth day on June 23, which has been reserved for a result.

“It’s trial and refinement with experience that ICC has got in organising matches and they know what it is about. And we all know how the English weather is,” Sridhar said.

“I think they have been prudent and wise. As it is, if play starts on time, we are looking at four hours of play on the reserve day.

“That’s going to make it a complete match and that’s what the viewers and audience want, a complete game,” the former Hyderabad left-arm spinner said.

On the players’ front, Sridhar feels that Shubman Gill, irrespective of an underwhelming England series and below-par first phase of IPL, has looked in good nick.

“Shubman Gill is a million dollar cricketer. He is batting brilliantly now. I am not in a position to give you technical details as that will be an answer better given by (batting coach) Vikram (Rathour),” he said.

“I have given him throwdowns and seen him bat. He is looking in good nick and looking in excellent mindset. He is clear about his role and gameplan. He is an exciting prospect for India in long term and I just can’t wait to watch him play,” the fielding coach added.

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Vishwas Gupta