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Southampton is boiling hot: India will go with both Ashwin and Jadeja as weather ensures the pitch will dry soon, feels Gavaskar

10:56 PM Jun 16, 2021 | PTI

New Delhi: Legendary opener Sunil Gavaskar believes that India will go in with both Ravindra Jadeja and Ravichandran Ashwin against New Zealand in the World Test Championship final as Southampton's boiling hot weather is going to ensure that the pitch dries up progressively and assists spinners.

Gavaskar is part of the match's commentary panel and is currently in Southampton with first-hand knowledge about the pitch and conditions for the match starting June 18.

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"In Southampton, it's been boiling hot over the last few days so the pitch will definitely be dry and help spin as the match progresses, so yes both Ashwin and Jadeja will play," said Gavaskar.

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Southampton's maximum temperature has been over 25 degree celsius for the past few days but there is a forecast of rain from Thursday.

For Gavaskar, it's not just bowling but all-round abilities that give India the kind of balance they need going into a marquee match like this.

"That (Ashwin and Jadeja together) also gives depth to the batting as well as give a fine balance to the bowling attack. For the series later (vs England) much will depend on the weather and pitch conditions."

While New Zealand will be on a high after their series win against England, Gavaskar doesn't feel that the Indian team is under-prepared either just because it didn't get any practice matches.

"(In) today's tours there are barely one or two practice games before the Test series begins and the Indian team has had intra-squad matches so they have had that practice.

"The team is a good blend of youth and experience and most of the players have been to England several times so they know the conditions and what to expect," said the former India captain.

Gavaskar is also confident that Rohit Sharma will be able to replicate his 2019 white-ball form in England and the century he scored in tough conditions in Southampton against South Africa in the World Cup opener would give him confidence.

"We saw Rohit Sharma score five incredible hundreds in the World Cup in England two years back.

"The century he got against South Africa was on a tough pitch and cold conditions and he made the adjustments beautifully. Now two years later he is even more experienced so don't be surprised if he repeats that performance in this series too."

For one of the most respected voices in world cricket, the emergence of Rishabh Pant as a pure match-winner at No 6 has given Indian team a chance to check out various bowling options depending on conditions.

"Rishabh Pant has now got even better in shot selection as we saw in Australia. His batting allows the team to go in with an extra spinner or pacer. Expect some game changing innings from him in the summer."

Proper shot selection will be key to success.

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