As weird as this statement from the renowned commentator may sound, Sanjay Manjrekar backs it up with historic belief. He points out that since there will be grass on the pitch at The Ageas Bowl, and also the weather is expected to be gloomy with a cloud cover, the Indian captain, like the ones before him, might be tempted to bowl first, if he wins the toss.
Sanjay Manjrekar says while the toss won’t be as crucial as some may feel, bowling first won’t be a wise decision. Hence, the 55-year-old states that it would be “ideal” for Team India if Kane Williamson wins the toss and the Kiwi skipper chooses to field first, putting Kohli’s team in to bat.
With no match practice, India’s batting is a little vulnerable: Sanjay Manjrekar
Sanjay Manjrekar also asserts that since the Indian team haven’t had any significant amount of match practice – they had one intra-squad game compared with the two Tests New Zealand played against England – their batting maybe a little vulnerable, so they would be better off utilizing batting conditions on the first couple of days before the pitch wears out.
“The toss is an interesting thing. Players, when they go for the toss and there are overcast conditions and expect it to be there for the first couple of hours. They look at the pitch that has a nice, healthy cover of grass.
“No pitch in England would be devoid of grass. Some would be dry but there would be grass. So when you look at the overcast conditions, you’re tempted to bowl first, especially a team like India, with no match practice and batting being a little vulnerable,” Sanjay Manjrekar told ESPNCricinfo.
“I don’t think toss is going to be crucial. If you win the toss and bat really well, that’s a different matter. But if India lose, that will be ideal for them because they’d want to do the right thing and bat first.
“So, I just hope for Virat Kohli’s sake that they lose the toss. Of late, in Test cricket, losing tosses have won plenty of matches so it’s not the deciding factor,” the former batsman elucidated.
India include Ravindra Jadeja over Hanuma Vihari, Mohammed Siraj not picked
Meanwhile, India have announced their playing eleven for the mega-clash; they are going with 5 bowling options, which includes Ravindra Jadeja as the all-rounder meaning Hanuma Vihari will be benched. Other than Vihari, Mohammed Siraj, who was impressive in Australia, and senior players, Umesh Yadav, and Wriddhiman Saha are also excluded from the 15-man squad announced earlier.
India Playing XI: Rohit Sharma, Shubman Gill, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli (c), Ajinkya Rahane, Rishabh Pant (wk), Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin, Ishant Sharma, Mohammed Shami, Jasprit Bumrah.