The recent success of the Indian team against Australia in the Test format was inspired by Ravindra Jadeja and Ravichandran Ashwin. The spinner duo decimated Australia in the Border Gavaskar Trophy (BGT) earlier this year as India won the series 2-1, their 3rd successive series win against Australia.
As the two teams meet again in the WTC Final, the conditions are completely different this time. The English deck generally helps pacers and it looks certain India will play at least three pacers in the team. There have been calls for a fourth pacer, but the conundrum will be whether Rohit Sharma goes with an extra pacer or couples up the spinners.
The Indian team have gone with three spinners in the squad. Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja and Axar Patel have travelled to England and it is certain a maximum of two of them can play the final.
Ravichandran Ashwin will be one of the two spinners. The off-spinner has been excellent for India in Test format and looks like a certainty in the team. With a few left-handers in the Australia squad, Rohit Sharma would be tempted to play Ashwin.
But the question is who should play along with him if India go for a second spinner – Ravindra Jadeja or Axar Patel?
Axar Patel has been excellent for India in Test matches. The left-arm all-rounder also provides batting depth and scored some crucial runs in the recent BGT. But Jadeja and Ashwin’s dominant in the series meant Patel could bowl only a handful of overs and picked just 3 wickets in the series.
Ravindra Jadeja has decent numbers in England. Jadeja has picked up 23 wickets in just 11 Test matches in England and his batting form has been quite sublime of late as well. He was the player of the series in the BGT and has done extremely well for Chennai Super Kings in the IPL 2023 as well.
Another downpoint for Axar is that he is yet to play anywhere outside of the subcontinent. 10 of his 12 Tests have come in India, while the other two being in Bangladesh. With both Ashwin and Jadeja’s prior experience in England, it looks certain India would be opting to go with the veteran duo for the WTC Final if they opt for two spinners.
Can India go with one Spinner?
That is also another possibility. Given the conditions and the pitch, Indian think tank can play a solitary spinner and in that case, Ashwin may get the nod ahead for his much-lethal record against Australia.
Both Jadeja and Ashwin have played 4 Tests in 2023, picking up 22 and 25 wickets respectively. Incidentally, all of the 4 Test matches were against Australia in the Border Gavaskar Trophy.
Indian Spinners Test Stats in 2023
All of their Test appearances in 2023 have come against Australia. Patel scored the most amount of runs with bat among the trio with 264 runs in the series at an average of 88 along with 3 fifties.
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