Indian opening batsman KL Rahul even after scoring two fifties in two consecutive warm-up matches in the West Indies is not sure about his selection in the XI of the first Test, starting on 21 July in St. Kitts and Nevis.
In the second warm-up match against West Indies Board President XI, Rahul retired not out on 64, following up his score of 51 in the first warm-up match at the same ground earlier in the week.
“Selection is something not in my control. As players, we look to prepare and if the opportunity comes by, we want to do well, both for ourselves and for the team. There’s still a week to go before the Tests start, so in next couple of days we will know who is playing and who is not. It’s not something I am worried about. What has to happen, it will happen,” he said after the second day’s play against WICB President’s XI.
“The idea was to come here early, get used to conditions. I’m really happy with the way I have batted in the last two innings. It has helped in getting used to the conditions here, and the weather is hot and humid. It is not easy to get runs out there, and I have tried to use these two innings and use the time before the Test series. I think I am prepared quite well,” he added.
India declared their first innings at 364 all out, with Virat Kohli (51) and Ravindra Jadeja (56) also scoring half century. Ajinkya Rahane and Wriddhiman Saha also scored 32 and 31 respectively.
The main tormentor of the Indian batsmen was Rahkeem Cornwall who took a fifer conceding 118 runs that underlined Indian batsmen’s weakness against the spin.
“I think we will be at an advantage if the pitches are spin friendly. We have three quality spinners who are in good form in the Test format, so we will be very happy if we get turning wickets,” he said.
“At the same time, we have firepower in pace department as well. All of them have increased their fitness levels and pace, so it is good to see them bending their back on tough wickets like these. They are getting the ball to carry, so it is a really good sign,” said the 24-year-old Karnataka batsman, shrugging off the five-wicket haul by Cornwall.
“I don’t know about other venues. Out here, the pitch has been a little slow. The ball goes soft after 20-30 overs and as a bowler or fielding team, everybody has to put a lot of effort. If there is not much assistance from the wicket, then coping with the weather is going to be challenging as well. Everyone needs to make an effort together, but we are up for it,” he added.
Indians have gone to West Indies after long series of limited-overs cricket. The limited over sojourn of India started in January 2016 and ended on April 30. India last played the Test series against South Africa in October and November when the home team defeated South Africa by 3-0 margin.
India is currently the No. 2 in ICC Test ranking and the host team are the bottom third above Bangladesh and Zimbabwe. So the four-match series will be a David and Goliath battle, but West Indies have a good spinner like Devendra Bishoo who can wreck havoc in the Indian batting line-up. Over the last couple of years, Indian batsmen didn’t get remarkable success on overseas tour. India’s only overseas victory came against a weak Sri Lankan team in August of 2015.