Will R Ashwin get a look-in? Team India to drop Ajinkya Rahane? Decoding Virat Kohli & Co.'s playing XI for 4th Test

WION Web Team
New Delhi, India Updated: Sep 01, 2021, 11:13 AM IST

Virat Kohli-led India's XI for The Oval Test Photograph:(AFP)

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After a heavy defeat in the third Test, Virat Kohli-led India will look to ring in few changes for the fourth and penultimate Test versus England at The Kennington Oval, London.

Team India entered the third Test, of the five-match series, versus Joe Root-led England with the momentum firmly in their favour, following a 151-run win in the second Test at Lord's. While Virat Kohli & Co. were expected to dictate terms, they fell flat like nine pins to lose the third Test by an innings and 76 runs at Headingley, Leeds. 

With the scoreline now 1-1, India have their back against the wall and need to get their combination right for the fourth and penultimate Test, which starts from September 2 (Thursday) at Kennington Oval, London. Ahead of the upcoming encounter, India will look to ring in few changes in their playing XI.

What changes can India make for the 4th Test?

Kohli & Co.'s top-order is expected to remain the same with KL Rahul, Rohit Sharma, Cheteshwar Pujara and Kohli forming the top 4. With Rishabh Pant also fixed as the wicketkeeper-batsman, this leaves India with six more spots to fill. While Kohli stated in the post-match conference, after the third Test, that the team management might rotate few players to manage their workload, the likes of Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami and Mohammed Siraj are still expected to retain their spots, respectively.

Kohli has been very vocal on his support for his deputy Ajinkya Rahane. However, the senior batsman has struggled for consistency and has only one fifty-plus score so far in the series. Though Hanuma Vihari and Mayank Agarwal, along with Prithvi Shaw and Suryakumar Yadav, are few contenders to replace Rahane, he is likely to retain his place once again. 

The Oval's pitch is expected to be the slowest and, hence, R Ashwin's inclusion looks on cards, at the expense of Ishant Sharma. With Ravindra Jadeja not being officially ruled out yet, after visiting the hospital for precautionary scans for knee injury, Ashwin's inclusion will not only add to the batting line-up but will also assist India with his spin. Both Ashwin and Jadeja can be trusted with the bat and assist the tail. In case Jadeja gets ruled out, Shardul Thakur can replace him.

India's likely playing XI for 4th Test: Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli (c), Ajinkya Rahane/Hanuma Vihari, Rishabh Pant, Ravindra Jadeja/Shardul Thakur, R Ashwin, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Siraj, Mohammed Shami