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Rohit hints India could request green pitch in Ahmedabad

"It's definitely a possibility, we've already spoken about it. We need to get the guys ready for it as well"

Rohit Sharma has hinted that India could request a green pitch for the fourth Border-Gavaskar Test in Ahmedabad if they win the third Test in Indore and seal their place in the World Test Championship final. India, currently 2-0 up in the four-Test series, need one more win to confirm their place in the WTC final, which is set to be played at The Oval from June 7 to 11.
Australia are the other favourites to play the final, with Sri Lanka also in with an outside chance.
India have prepared seamer-friendly home pitches in the past with an eye on preparing for major away tours. In the 2017-18 season, shortly before a tour of South Africa, they played on a greentop at Eden Gardens against Sri Lanka - the seamers took 32 of the 35 wickets that fell in the Test match.
On Tuesday, Rohit said something similar could be on the cards if India go 3-0 up in Indore, setting up a potential WTC final dress rehearsal in pace-friendly conditions in Ahmedabad. He added, however, that selection could prove tricky, given that Shardul Thakur, India's preferred pace-bowling allrounder in overseas conditions, isn't part of their squad for this series, and has not played competitive cricket in over a month. Rohit attended Thakur's wedding during the break between the second and third Tests.
"There is definitely a possibility of that," Rohit said. "We've already spoken about it. We need to get the guys ready for it as well.
"The important one is Shardul Thakur, because he comes into that plan for us. I don't know how ready he is, knowing that he just got married. We don't know how many overs he has bowled. But yeah, that thought process is definitely there. If we do what we do here and we get the result we want, we might think of doing something different in Ahmedabad for sure."
In that Kolkata Test against Sri Lanka, the damp weather played as much of a role as the pitch in helping India simulate overseas conditions. While it should be possible for India to prepare a green pitch in Ahmedabad, the weather is expected to be hot and dry, with maximum temperatures in the mid-to-high 30s (Celsius) - nothing, in short, like London in June.
Before their thoughts can turn to such matters, however, India have a Test match to play in Indore, and Rohit warned against letting their thoughts stray too far ahead. Though India won the second Test in Delhi by six wickets, they were made to work hard for their result - at one stage, they were 139 for 7 in reply to Australia's first-innings total of 263. Rohit expected Australia to push India hard again in Indore.
"It will be a great achievement for us [to reach the WTC final], but we know that we need to cross that final hurdle, and for that we need to win the next game as well, so the focus is on this Test, how we can win this game, and not look too far ahead, because after this game we've got one more Test match to be played, and then after that there's two months of IPL," Rohit said.
"There's a lot of time to think about the final, but right now it's very important for us to focus on this one and see how we can turn it around and win this game as well, because in the last game we were put under pressure for sure, we can expect the same here as well, so we need to be ready for that."
When pressed to look ahead to the WTC final, Rohit said it would be exciting for the two teams playing it to meet in neutral conditions.
"It'll be a different ball game, for both teams actually," he said. "Actually, I don't want to talk about the World Test Championship. We're not there yet. We want to win this game and then talk about it. That'll be the right thing to do.
"But just speaking of it from the outside, clearly, I don't think England is going to qualify, so both teams who are going to play the final will be neutral teams. It's going to be exciting. There's no home advantage, no conditions advantage. India have played a lot of cricket in England over the last couple of years. Australia have played a lot of cricket [there]. Sri Lanka and South Africa are also in the mix [South Africa are out of the reckoning]. They probably have played a lot of cricket there as well. It's not going to be alien conditions as such, to both teams who will make the final. It'll be a good contest between the two teams, whoever those teams are."

Karthik Krishnaswamy is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo