India skipper Virat Kohli has left the playing XI open to change only for off-spinner R Ashwin as the team management has found the pitch at Headingley for the third Test devoid of grass. Kohli, though, said he sees no reason to change the playing XI that won the second Test against England by 151 runs at Lords last week.
“We have got no reason to change anything unless people have niggles which we haven’t encountered since we finished the last Test,” said Kohli to media in an interaction on Tuesday, the eve of the third Test.
India lead the Test series 1-0 after two Tests.
“Obviously, you don’t want to disturb or interrupt a winning combination especially if the team has achieved such an incredible win in the second Test and is even more excited to take the field again,” added Kohli.
Kohli, however, said that India are going to name the playing XI and R Ashwin may get to play because of the pitch. He said that the team management will pick the twelve and then, on Wednesday, will assess the pitch on how it will behave on the third and fourth days before making a call on Ashwin.
“As far as Ashwin playing in concerned we are quite surprised to see the pitch the way it was. We could see a lot of surface which honestly I did not expect would be the case. I thought there would be lot of grass on the pitch. It will be more spicy and lively. But it won’t be the case,” said Kohli.
The four-pronged Indian pace attack that ran through the England batting line-up on the fifth day of the second Test may have discouraged the host from leaving grass.
“So anything is possible. We always name a 12 and then on the day we have a look at the pitch and what it could become on Day 3 and Day 4 and accordingly we will go in with the right combination,” added Kohli.
If Ashwin comes in, he could come in for Ravindra Jadeja.