KL Rahul and Ravi Ashwin likely to be excluded from fifth Test XI
The fifth and final Test starts on Friday and Virat Kohli is likely to make a few changes to the team. While there is the case of India going in with their tried and tested players to make the scoreline 3-2 and not 3-1 or 4-1, the fact remains some members of the XI have failed more often than not over the course of the four Tests.
In such a scenario, the management will be tempted to try out a few members of the squad who have been on the bench.
The first name on top of every Indian cricket fan’s mind is teenage opener Prithvi Shaw. The 18-year-old has enjoyed a stellar season, guiding the India U-19 team to World Cup glory early in the year and scoring heavily in first-class matches. In 14 first-class matches of his debut season, Shaw has cracked seven centuries.
In his last four first-class matches for India ‘A’ – two each in England and India – Shaw hit two centuries and one fifty at the top of the order against sides like West Indies A, South Africa A and England Lions. Given the praise Shaw has received from many Indian greats, there is a good chance of him making his Test debut in the fifth game.
According to reports, KL Rahul is likely to be axed from the side after managing just 113 runs from eight innings. While Rahul has been exception in the slip region, taking 11 catches, the fact is he has looked extremely vulnerable against the moving ball. Since Shaw is a proper opener, he should make the cut with Shikhar Dhawan keeping his spot as he is a left-hander and has looked a bit more composed than Rahul.
The other change that is likely to happen is the return of left-arm spinner Ravindra Jadeja. The pitch for the fourth Test in Southampton had a lot of rough and assistance for spinners. England’s Moeen Ali snared nine wickets while India ace off-spinner Ravi Ashwin struggled to land successive balls on the same spot.
It is believed Ashwin carried the groin/hip injury he picked up in the third Test to the fourth match. His lack of effectiveness hurt the team the most and the Indian management are likely to bring in Jadeja who offers a lot more stability with line and length.
Hardik Pandya should retain his spot as he has the fourth-highest run tally among Indian batsmen and has snared 10 wickets.
The Indian team trained at The Oval on Wednesday and looking at the order of players who turned out to bat, both Shaw and Jadeja should be in the XI.
According to reports, Shaw and Jadeja were in the second batch of batsmen who took to the nets, raising the prospect of their selection.