India's fielding coach R Sridhar said the playing XI for the World Test Championship final against New Zealand in Southampton was picked to "take the pitch and conditions out of the equation" and hinted that they probably won't be making any changes after the first day was completely washed out.
"I was expecting this to be the first question. I think the XI which has been announced is the XI which takes the pitch and conditions out of the equation. I think it's an XI which can play and perform on any given surface in any given weather conditions. So that is what I believe this XI is all about, which we will put in the park. But having that said, the toss is not yet over, so we will ... if it needs to be taken, there will be a decision taken at the time of the toss," said Sridhar.
India had announced their XI on Thursday, going with the combination of six batsmen, two spin-bowling all-rounders and three fast bowlers. Both R Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja, alongside three seamers Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammad Shami and Ishant Sharma were named in the XI.
Meanwhile, New Zealand vice-captain Tom Latham said they are yet to confirm their final XI. "I'm sure Kane and Steady [coach Gary Stead] have a few contingencies in place but, as I say, we'll have to wait until the canvas comes off and we get the chance to play," said Latham.
"It probably doesn't change a huge amount. For us, it's about adapting to whatever conditions we're faced with, whether it's tomorrow or whenever it may be. With the extra day that we've got up our sleeve, the game can still go the full five days ... so it's important that we aren't caught on the hop. We've been in this situation many times before as cricketers, and I guess it's about trying to stay ready when we're called upon."
Sridhar also revealed that the team members kept themselves busy by watching debutant Shafali Verma's exploits in the one-off Test against England in Bristol. The 17-year-old opener slammed 96 in the first innings and is now batting on 55* in the second essay.
"We have not missed a bit of the girls right from Day One, except for the time when we were out in practice. All of us have seen the game. It has been going on live in our rooms, in our team room, in our breakfast area, and even when we were waiting for the rain to stop," said Sridhar.
"All of us were sitting together and watching the girls’ game and encouraging our girls. They are fighting to get back into the game. Shafali reminds us so much of Viru [Virender Sehwag], the way she plays, her mind-set is so clear. We are enjoying the innings from Shafali. I wish she had got a hundred in the first innings."
Sridhar also said that the Indian team management is impressed by the spin-friendly surface in Bristol. "Looking at the wicket, I think we could play [WTC] final there. The ball is turning a bit. We are just wondering if we can shift the final to Bristol."