Rahane or Nair?

The Economic Times - - Sports: The Great Games - Shamya Das­gupta

cus­tom­ary­for­most­top-notchcrick­et­teams,In­dia in­cluded, to hold their cards as close to the chest as pos­si­ble when it comes to team com­po­si­tions. ‘Don’t an­nounce it till you have to’ is the un­writ­ten motto, which is typ­i­cally at the time of the toss. But Anil Kum­ble, though not break­ing from tra­di­tion, gave quite a few hints to the way the XI might look come Thurs­day, when In­dia take on Bangladesh in their one-off Test match at the Ra­jiv Gandhi In­ter­na­tional Sta­dium in Up­pal. And the most in­ter­est­ing thought, if what we are read­ing be­tween the In­dian coach’s lines is cor­rect, is that Karun Nair, who scored 303 not out in the last Test match In­dia played against Eng­land in Chen­nai last month, might have to sit out to ac­com­mo­date Ajinkya Rahane.

A fin­ger in­jury sus­tained dur­ing the third Test against Eng­land, in Mo­hali, had ruled Rahane out of the re­main­der of that se­ries and Nair, who had made his de­but in the third Test, stayed on in the XI. Not just that, he scored a rapid 381-ball triple cen­tury to help In­dia to an in­nings-and-75-run win and take home the Man of the Match award. When In­dia play their next Test, Nair might be wa­ter boy again.

“We still haven’t thought about the com­bi­na­tion but it’s nice that Karun took his op­por­tu­nity and did what he did in Chen­nai,” said Kum­ble on Tues­day.

“It’s fan­tas­tic for a young crick­eter to come in and score a triple hun­dred. But we know what Ajinkya has done for this team. Ajinkya’s per­for­mances have been phe­nom­e­nal across con­di­tions.

“It’s nice that some­body who has come in to re­place Ajinkya be­cause of the in­jury in Mum­bai, then in just three or four in­nings he was able to score a triple cen­tury. So it’s nice to have to have that kind of con­tri­bu­tion and that kind of abil­ity from the young­sters.” Just a hint. Noth­ing more. Who knows how things will pan out in the day and a half be­tween now and that toss? In­dia might even re­vert to the six-bats­man plan if they choose to.



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