India’s chief coach Anil Kumble on Tuesday made it amply clear that opener KL Rahul would be making a comeback into the playing XI against England in the second Test starting Thursday.
With Gautam Gambhir looking out of sync in the face of incisive swing bowling and bounce generated by England pacers in the first Test, the SOS call to Rahul, who played a couple of good knocks against Rajasthan in Ranjit Trophy, was a giveaway that he was back in the fold. “I think there is still two days left. Rahul is certainly available for selection and you would want Rahul to be in starting line-up and that’s the reason he has been included,” Kumble said, indicating his preferred opener.
“He (Rahul) had an (hamstring) injury in Kanpur. He was not available for Test and ODIs against New Zealand. Now he has recovered and as a protocol, he played a Ranji Trophy game. On Tuesday he scored a hundred (106) and in the first innings he scored 70 plus (76 off 85 balls). Since match is happening close to Vizag (at Vizaianagaram), it’s good to have him in the squad and he is available for selection,” Kumble elaborated.
When asked about the possible inclusion of Jimmy Anderson in the England starting line-up, Kumble said that the focus is not on a single individual.
“He has 450 Test wickets, that’s obviously experience. He has played here before. He is a very important player for England. You need experience and when someone is available, it will be a stronger unit. We will look at England as a team and not focus on any individual. Similarly, we have Rahul, who is now available. It’s always good to have full teams,” said Kumble.
Kumble praised the Indian fast bowlers Umesh Yadav and Mohammed Shami for the manner in which they have bowled during the New Zealand series as well as the first Test despite not getting too many wickets.
“Fast bowlers did really well. Shami and Umesh bowled exceptionally well. They got the ball to reverse and trouble the English batsmen. Umesh and Shami not only bowled well at Rajkot but also against New Zealand, so did Bhuvi, all the fast bowlers are doing well.” India dropped as many as six catches in the first Test and that did not go unnoticed.
“I think if you look at only aspect, where we probably we let ourselves down is catching. We have done well in all three departments over the past three and half months that I have been with the team. Catching is one area that the team prides itself. We let ourselves down in that aspect,” Kumble said.
Kumble also defended the bowlers, stating that it was a good wicket to bat on and six tons from either side proved that.
“If you look at the first innings, both teams batted nearly 160 overs. It was a challenge for bowlers to pick wickets. It was a good wicket to bat on. Save last day, those 60 overs, I don’t read too much into batting. There were six Test centuries, two from our side and four from their side. It was a good Test match.”
Erlier, Fit-again opener K L Rahul was on Tuesday added to India's squad for the second cricket Test against England starting November 17 in Visakhapatnam.
"The All India Senior Selection Committee has decided to add India batsman KL Rahul to the Indian squad ahead of the second Test of the Paytm Test Series - 2016 between India and England to be played at Vizag from November 17, 2016," BCCI Secretary Ajay Shirke said in a statement. Agencies
Followed Ojha closely, learnt from Kartik at Surrey: Ansari
England's young left-arm spin bowler Zafar Ansari says he closely followed Indian spinner Pragyan Ojha's action and tried to learn from Murali Kartik during their county stints at Surrey. The 24-year-old Ansari picked up three wickets, including that of Ajinkya Rahane, in the drawn first Test against India in Rajkot.
"First Pragyan Ojha, first four games in 2011. The way he bowls, his actions, I followed closely for a short period of time. Murali Kartik was similar. His approach, the way he spends time at the crease. I watched and tried to learn from him," Ansari said ahead of the second Test here. "My second Test felt easier then the first from a psychological perspective." he added. Ansari said former Pakistan spinner Saqlain Mushtaq, who is now spin consultant of the England team, only worked on the basics.