India should learn from its past mistakes and not think twice before leaving one of their premier spinners out of the playing XI for the World Test Championship final against Australia if the conditions demand, said former England skipper Nasser Hussain.
The spin duo of Ravindra Jadeja and Ravichandran Ashwin didn’t make much of an impact two years ago when India lost to New Zealand by eight wickets in a rain-hit final of the inaugural edition.
According to Hussain, India made the blunder of reading the conditions wrong the last time and shouldn’t repeat the mistake this time as they eye their maiden ICC title in 10 years.
“I think India, as they showed in Australia, can win in any conditions,” Hussain said on The ICC Review.
“It helps with the balance of their side if the weather is good and if the sun shines at The Oval, that they can go with their formula of two spinners, two seamers, and have (Shardul) Thakur as your third seamer.
“If you look back at the last World Test Championship, I think India read the conditions wrong. The lights were on on all five days, it was grey, it was miserable, and it was cold. New Zealand didn’t play a front-line spinner. India played two, and I think seam-dominated and swing-dominated.
“India have played some good cricket at The Oval. They beat England there last time in a really good game. I think it’s a pretty fair venue.” Jadeja and Ashwin have scored eight Test hundreds between them with the former making 104 in India’s last red-ball match in England in 2022.
Hussain feels the spin duo offers India batting depth but made it clear going with the two might not be the best option if conditions are rainy and wet.
“I would go Jadeja and Ashwin, (for) batting depth. Then you can bat all the way down. Then you can play your best seamers,” the 55-year-old former batter said.
“Jadeja bowled beautifully there against England last time. He held up an end. He got it reverse swinging for them because he hits the scuffy side of the ball as well when he bowls.
“But what they mustn’t do if it’s rainy and wet and damp and the lights are on and it’s green, then they have to change the balance of their side, which they didn’t do for the World Test Championship last time.
“I would really look at those conditions the day before and on that first morning and not be wary of leaving one of your legends out if conditions demand that. But great bowlers are usually great bowlers in all conditions.” The WTC final begins on Wednesday at The Oval.
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