The ex­pe­ri­enced Mum­baikar might have the edge over the young Kar­nataka bats­man

The Economic Times - - Sports: The Great Games -

But if Nair is dropped, it’s go­ing to be a mas­sive de­ci­sion, and only the sec­ond time in the long and sto­ried his­tory of Test cricket that a player has been missed a Test im­me­di­ately af­ter the one in which he got a triple. Andy Sand­ham, the English bats­man, scored 325 and 50 against West Indies in Kingston back in 1930. It was the last of his 14 Tests and an an­kle in­jury meant he only played a few first-class matches af­ter that. He was 40 at the time of scor­ing the triple — the first in Test his­tory.

There was also the sug­ges­tion from Kum­ble that Ab­hi­nav Mukund wouldn’t be mak­ing a long-awaited re­turn to Test cricket. With M Vi­jay back in har­ness and KL Rahul rolling along smoothly enough, Ab­hi­nav’s chances of earn­ing a re­call were scant any­way. But Kum­ble was cer­tain that Ab­hi­nav’s pres­ence, keep­ing in mind his ex­pe­ri­ence and ex­cel­lent re­cent first-class form, could only help the team even if he was go­ing to be “a back-up”.

“Vi­jay and KL have played won­der­fully well in the last se­ries. It’s just that you need a back-up. As far as we are con­cerned, the open­ers have had is­sues (in­juries) in the West Indies and in the home se­ries as well. It’s just a con­cern, and al­ways nice to … Ab­hi­nav brings in not just the ex­pe­ri­ence of play­ing at the in­ter­na­tional level but also lots of runs in the do­mes­tic sea­son gone by. So he is in good form. And it’s a re­ward for what he has been able to achieve in the do­mes­tic cir­cuit,” said Kum­ble.

That sug­gests a top five along ex­pected lines, with Vi­jay, Rahul, Chetesh­war Pu­jara, Vi­rat Kohli and Rahane fill­ing the slots. What then? Well, even if Bangladesh are not Aus­tralia or Eng­land or South Africa, it’s not yet time to blood Hardik Pandya. “We cer­tainly want to keep Hardik in the mix. He has the abil­ity to be­come a good all­rounder even in the longer for­mat. It’s rare that you’ve some­one who can bowl at close to 140 and bat in the lower mid­dle or­der,” ex­plained Kum­ble.

Then come the all­rounders, and the bowlers. The at­tack will most cer­tainly be led by R Ash­win, with Ravin­dra Jadeja as his able lieu­tenant bar any dras­tic change in cir­cum­stances. “It doesn’t re­ally mat­ter what the pitch is. We’ll put in a com­bi­na­tion that we be­lieve can go out there and win the match. They (Ash­win and Jadeja) are proven match-win­ners and have the abil­ity to not re­ally bother about con­di­tions,” pointed out Kum­ble.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from India

© PressReader. All rights reserved.