Why India continued with 2 spinners despite overcast conditions in Southampton?

Virat Kohli put rest to all the speculations regarding team changes at toss as India decided to go ahead with the same playing XI that was announced a couple of days back.

Rohan Gulaty Author

Updated - 19 June 2021 6:33 pm

After the first day in Southampton was washed out due to rain, all eyes were on skipper Virat Kohli at the toss on Saturday as there were a lot of speculations that Team India might make a few alterations in their playing XI that was announced a couple of days back. While some experts had opined that Hanuma Vihari might get an opportunity to strengthen the batting, others believed that an extra pacer in form of Mohammed Siraj was the need of the hour in the overcast conditions in Southampton.

However, all the guesswork was put to rest by Kohli at the toss when he confirmed that they are sticking with the same team which was as follows: Rohit Sharma, Shubman Gill, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli (c), Ajinkya Rahane, Rishabh Pant (wk), Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin, Mohammed Shami, Ishant Sharma, Jasprit Bumrah.

We prepare for any conditions: Kohli

After losing the toss and being put to bat first, Indian skipper admitted that he would have loved to choose to bowl as well. Reflecting on the decision to not opt for any changes, Kohli said, "As you saw the makeup of our side, the balance is such that we prepare for any conditions." The 32-year-old added that the spinners in the side (Ashwin and Jadeja) can prove to be lethal in any conditions because of their ability to create pressure on the batsmen. The duo also provides solidity to India's lower middle-order and with India supposed to bowl last, both Ashwin and Jadeja could prove to be lethal with the ball if there is any dryness on the pitch.

On the other hand, New Zealand opted for a completely different strategy as they dropped spinner Ajaz Patel and went ahead with four pacers - Tim Southee, Trent Boult, Kyle Jamieson and Neil Wagner - a move which paid off for them as Jamieson and Wagner struck crucial blows in the first session as India went to lunch with 69/2 in 28 overs.