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India might include four spin bowling options in their playing XI for the first of the four Tests against Australia. As the Nagpur pitch is expected to be a rank-turner, the Rohit Sharma-led team might ditch a batter and include an extra spinner. If reports are to be believed, the team management has already made up its plans and a final call will be taken on matchday eve, after looking at the pitch. 

With a spot in the World Test Championship Final at stake, India might play safe and dish out turners. The hosts have won more games while playing on rank turners and hence the decision. If the Nagpur pitch is curated to favour the spinners, Rohit Sharma and Co. would look to have as many spin bowling options as possible. 

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An Indian Express report has claimed that all four of R Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Axar Patel, and Kuldeep Yadav might play the first Test. Meanwhile, Mohammed Siraj and Mohammed Shami will be the two pacers in the Indian playing XI. “We want to maximise our advantage and prepare turners. Spinners are our biggest strength and we should give them the best conditions to bowl and get wickets,” the report quoted a source in the team.

“Of course, the team will make the final call on the eleven on the eve of the match, or in the morning after having final look at the wicket, but four spinners are certainly in our plans, as we have four quality spinners in the team,” the source explained.

Who will sit out then?

Playing with four spinners will mean India will be a batter short because the hosts can’t leave out the two pacers. Meanwhile, KS Bharat looks all set for his Test debut as his wicketkeeping skills will be required on a tricky Nagpur pitch. But who will be the one missing out? 

The top four batting slots look sealed with Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul, Cheteshwar Pujara, and Virat Kohli occupying them. Meanwhile, the fifth batting slot which was empty with Shreyas Iyer unavailable might be filled by KS Bharat followed by Ashwin, Jadeja, and Axar.