India, the number one Test team, will take on England in a five-Test series, starting November 9 in Rajkot. Before that, India assembled for their first practice session today. Ajinkya Rahane took a few throws downs at the nets and Ishant Sharma is back with the team after suffering from Chikungunya looked impressive at the nets. What will be the team combination of India against England in the first Test?
Team management is in dilemma on selection conundrum. India’s head coach has to choose either “fifth bowler” Hardik Pandya or “sixth batsman” Karun Nair. But, Anil Kumble did not reveal much on his preference. He praised talent of both the players.
“You could get a sense of what’s going in his mind when he spoke about Hardik’s potential as a fifth bowler. We all understand the importance of a fifth bowler. And if someone can bowl at 140 and give option of batting well lower down the order, we are really looking at how Hardik develops. We are going to give all the freedom to express himself whenever he gets the opportunity. Quality player whom we will back, nice thing to have an all-rounder in the squad,” said Kumble.
“We haven’t looked at the combination. Karun is someone we have kept a close eye on, backed him for all good things that he has done. I am sure he will get an opportunity. We want to back him to get runs as he has done for Karnataka,” he added.
Kumble said that communication is an integral part of any sport, more so with players who are injured. “Communication is the key in any team activity, whether you are doing well, whether you are not doing well. Communication with the players who have been injured is equally important as well,” Kumble said. On Rohit Sharma’s injury, Kumble said, “Bit disappointed with some injuries; it’s unfortunate. Feel sad for Rohit (Sharma) because he was doing well.”
This is also the first five-Test series in India after 29 years. The last five-Test series was hosted in the year 1987 against Pakistan. Kohli and co. shouldn’t take the visiting side lightly, especially when their highest Test-wicket taker, James Anderson, is back.
Kumble thinks Alastair Cook and Joe Root, two batsmen that they have to watch out. Though, their bowling attack of the visitors also need to be looked at. “Alastair Cook has been here on a number of occasions. he is a quality player. Joe Root. Also their bowling attack something that has troubled us in past. How we can measure up to whatever we set out to do.” Kumble said.
India’s head coach is happy for Rajkot’s wicket. “This is the first Test match happening at Rajkot. It’s a new stadium. We have played ODIs and T20 but in Tests, we don’t know how the wicket will be. It looks a good surface. We still have a couple of days to go for combination,” told Kumble.