Kohli contemplates unchanged team for Southampton clash

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India captain Virat Kohli is on the brink of naming an unchanged XI for the first time.

He has never done so in a 38-match tenure, but spinner Ravichandran Ashwin’s recovery from a hip injury sustained during the third Test against England might see India field the same team. Alternatively, subject to the condition of the pitch, fast bowler Umesh Yadav might be recalled.

“Ashwin is fit to play fourth Test. As things stand, we don’t feel the need to change anything,” said Kohli.

“I doubt that an all-pace attack is the right option. That’s just the thing of getting excited and probably doing that, but it doesn’t make much sense. The last time we played here, the spinners came into play in the second innings since there were big foot marks.

“The surface is pretty hard. Once it wears out, there could be big foot marks and spinners can get a lot of purchase in the second innings. That is how I see the wicket now.”

While the hosts won the first Test at Edgbaston and the second at Lord’s, the tourists were triumphant at Trent Bridge, where Kohli struck a fine 97 in the first innings and a great 103 in the second.

“If Nottingham was hard work, then this Southampton Test will be even harder. England will want to come back stronger. We will have to be even better than what we were in Nottingham to get the result to go our way,” he added.

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