Bharat Arun
Bharat Arun. Image-PTI

Indian bowling coach Bharat Arun on Wednesday said that off-spinner R Ashwin is likely to play against England in the fourth Test at Kennington Oval.

Ashwin, who was dropped from the team for the past three games, has a handful of experience while playing with Surrey at the Oval in the County Cricket Championship.

According to Arun, Ashwin could pair with Ravindra Jadeja as the Oval pitch, unlike other pitches in England, assists the spinners to grab wickets.

England knows the quality of R Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja: Bharat Arun

“We will have a fresh look on the pitch tomorrow because a lot can change overnight. If Ashwin fits our scheme of things, he and Jadeja will play,” Bharat Arun said in a virtual press conference ahead of the fourth Test. 

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“It is true that Oval track has historically favoured the spinner. But England knows the quality of Ashwin and Jadeja possesses and what damage the duo can do if there will be little help from the pitch,” he added.

Defending low scores is the biggest challenge: Bharat Arun

Indian bowlers were hammered by England at Headingley as they posted 432 to take a whopping lead of 354 after they bowled out the visitors for 78 on the first day.

India bowlers failed to replicate their success at Lord’s, where they wrapped England’s innings on 120 on the final day to win the match by 151 runs. Arun said to defend low scores is a big task and it would be unfair on his bowlers to draw criticism for not performing in one match.

“At Lord’s, our bowling was better than England. At Headingley, they were better. But one has to understand that our bowlers were defending 78,” Arun said. 

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Mohammed Shami was the pick of the Indian bowlers [Image-Twitter]

“Defending low scores is the biggest challenge. It is not fair to pull up bowlers if they have not done in one match. We have to accept it and take the positives and move on. The same bowling line-up bowled out England under 60 overs,” he added.

England skipper Joe Root has been in tremendous form with the bat, he alone has scored 507 runs from five innings at an average of 126.75 with three centuries to his name. Arun feels they need to stop Root and he reminded about India’s comeback from the Chennai Test at home.

“We have given Root a good start in all the innings. We need to work on that,” said Arun.

“There’s tremendous bounce-back ability in this team. We have done it in the past. We were 36 all out and in Adelaide and then went won to win the Test series. Against England at home, we lost the opening Test badly in Chennai; we again came back strongly,” he said.

The fourth Test will start on Thursday (September 2) with the series tied at 1-1.

Also Read: England vs India, 2021: India Bowling Coach Bharat Arun Reveals Why Prasidh Krishna Is Added To The Test Squad