India captain Rohit Sharma and Ravichandran Ashwin© Twitter
On another nippy and overcast morning in London on Tuesday, Rohit was among the four squad members who turned up for optional practice. R Ashwin, Umesh and K S Bharat were the others who showed up in the morning session along with the net bowlers. Rohit was seen holding his left thumb following a hit in the nets but he did not appear to be in a lot of discomfort.
On team combination, Rohit did not reveal much and expectedly kept the suspense going till toss time. India need to decide if they go in with two spinners or a four pacers.
"I've not said that Ashwin is not going to play. We'll wait until tomorrow - because one thing I have seen here - the pitch actually changes quite a bit day to day," he said when asked if it will be difficult to leave out Ashwin.
"Today it's looking the way it is. Tomorrow it might be slightly different, who knows. So the message to the boys has been very clear, all 15 must be ready to play at any point in time," he said.
The pitch wore a greenish look less than 24 hours and if conditions remain overcast in the morning, an extra pace option will come in handy.
"I saw it (pitch) yesterday, I didn't have a chance to see it today. But yeah, it looks a bit of help for the seamers definitely. With the overhead conditions as well, it's going to assist seamers a fair bit.
"I don't know how drastically but the pitch changes quite a bit in this part of the world. Like, when we played the last test match here in Oval, it looked very similar to this.
"And then as the game went on, as the day went on, it got better and better, slower and slower. And the reverse swing came into play as well on day 5th. So, yeah, we're going to consider all of those factors (before deciding eleven)," said the captain.
The Oval, which hosted its first Test back in 1880, is staging a five-day game for the very first time in June.
However, Rohit is not reading too much into that piece of statistic. "We've been hearing, not much of cricket is played here in June. County season has been played here. We saw there was a game played a couple of weeks back here. It's not like it's the first game of the season happening on this ground," he said.
"We are quite aware of what the conditions are, what is going to happen in the next five days," he added.
Have spoken about mistakes made in previous WTC final
India lost to New Zealand in the inaugural WTC final two years ago. The tactical call to play two spinners in overcast conditions backfired.
"Last time we played, we did make a few mistakes, which we have already spoken about in this group. And yeah, we know exactly what went wrong for us in the last championship final. So we hopefully will not repeat those kind of things," he said.
'Don't know when was the last time we had a good break'
After the IPL, it was a quick turnaround for the players. The ones who made the playoffs, including Rohit, had a week to prepare for the WTC final.
"We've been playing cricket like this for the last, I don't know how many years, series after series. I don't know when was the last time we had a good amount of break.
"But honestly, all the guys are used to playing a lot of cricket now," he added when asked about the fatigue factor.
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