Things seemed to be going great for team India as they practiced in Southampton ahead of their 4th Test match. A pleasant afternoon to practice after a beautiful four day holiday. Getting back into the grove ahead of their 4th Test match of the five-Test series. The plan in their mind is to level the score from 2-1 to 2-2, but there seems to be a slight problem.
The problem hovering over the team like the dark clouds in the distance is R. Ashwin. During the first Test match at Lord’s, he suffered a groin strain but was able to play through the pain. During the second innings, he was able to take the last English wicket on the fifth morning. Had it not been for the seven-day gap between matches, Ashwin would have been a no-show during the next Test match according to coach Shastri.
Ashwin’s condition was seen during the Aegeas Bowl practice arena on Monday. Ashwin didn’t bowl a single delivery and was completely away from fielding practice. Ravindra Jadeja, the left-arm spinner got a prolonged spell, but we can see that the Indian team management is not losing hope in Ashwin. Ashwin who was seen at practice with physio Patrick Farhat and trainer Shakar Basu did do some knocking in the nets to get some movement in his feet.
The team is clearly monitoring Ashwin’s condition before making the final call. What made this even clearer is that Jadeja didn’t bat during practice. This is an indications that the management wants Ashwin on the team and is willing to wait. If Ashwin is fit to play and left on the team. This will mark the first time in Kohli’s career that he will be going with the same playing XIs in back to back matches.
As for the condition of the pitch, reports indicate that it has a bit of grass grown on it and the pacers are enjoying the condition. The weather forecast has a bit of clouds overhead which won’t be an issue for the like of Jasprit Bumrah and Ishant Sharma. During the practice session, Hardik Pandya and Mohammad Shami bowled too.
The new faces, Hanuma Vihari and Prithvi Shaw also got some practice but after the first team got their batting in. Umesh Yadav was also seen during practice as the Karnataka opener has been desperately trying to get into some kind of form.