Anil Kumble: Two spinners could feature in England Tests

Former India skipper Anil Kumble feels that spin will hold key in England and India has a good chance of winning the series.

Former India skipper Anil Kumble feels the pitches in England will assist Indian spinners.   -  K.R. Deepak

Former India skipper Anil Kumble on Thursday said that India could use two spinners in the upcoming Test matches against England.

Speaking to a select group of journalists, Kumble was optimistic that spin will hold key in English conditions as the Virat Kohli-led side prepares for a gruelling series against England that includes five Tests, three T20Is and as many ODIs.

"It's [The tour] in the second half of the English summer, so the wickets are bound to play well. And there will be wear and tear too, so the spinners will come into picture," Kumble said adding, "Even two spinners could feature in the playing XI depending on the surface."

Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal, part of India's limited-overs squad, are yet to ply their trade in England.

Anil Kumble was in town to promote Spektacom, a technology that measures bat-speed, power and tracks whether or not the ball has hit the sweet spot of the willow, all in real time.

The ingenious technology will be on display during the upcoming Tamil Nadu Premier League. “I am thankful to TNPL for giving Spektacom an opportunity to debut in a tournament that will be viewed by millions," Kumble said.

However, Kumble - who stands third in the all-time list of highest wicket-takers in Test cricket with 619 scalps, opined that wrist-spinners will trouble the batsmen.

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"It's all about how you can put doubt in the batsman's mind; a batsman taking a fraction of a second extra to decide which shot to play and that's often the determining factor in case of a wrist-spinner.

"In T20s, there's hardly any room for experimenting, so the best way is to have the googlies and flippers to confuse the batsman," he said.

'India can win the series'

The former India head coach who resigned after a fallout with the current India skipper further stated that Kohli and his men can win the series.

"We have an all-round side. India has the bowling to pick 20 wickets and the experience in the batting line-up. The weather, of course, will play a role but dampness, as is the case in May and June, may not be a factor. However, if there's cloud cover, the ball will behave differently. I think we have a fair chance of winning the series this time," Kumble said.

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The emergence of T20 cricket has exalted the importance teams place on their fielding standards.

India has, in its ranks, the likes of Suresh Raina, Ravindra Jadeja and Ajinkya Rahane, who could change the course of the match with one fine catch or an excellent run-out. Adding to the strength is captain Kohli's own agility and athleticism.

"As a batsman - if you're opening - you get a chance to plan your innings but if you're batting in the middle order, you may not even get that chance," Kumble noted.

"However, if the batsman doesn't bowl, fielding is the only other skill he's going to be involved in for the full 20 overs. In T20, one run-out, one brilliant catch could turn the game."

Yo-Yo Test

Yo-Yo tests have become the order of the day for Indian cricketers. Recently, on the basis of the low scores, Ambati Rayudu was left out of India's ODI squad for the England tour along with Mohammed Shami while Sanju Samson was sidelined from the India A team, touring England.

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While their exclusions continue to divide opinions over the legitimacy of the tests, Kumble reckons, "It's about the communication you've with a player and if there's a criterion that needs to be met and if that's a part of the process, then you need to respect that process."

TNPL

The third edition of the Tamil Nadu Premier League (TNPL) will get underway on July 11 in Tirunelveli.

While Chennai will host four games and the final, Tirunelveli and Dindigul will host 14 TNPL matches each in a bid to ensure fans from other districts, too, get to witness high-quality cricket live from the stadiums.

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"I think it's important to take the game to the hinterlands. No matter how much you watch on television, if you see your 'heroes' in flesh and blood in front of you, that creates an impact for any youngster wanting to take up the game.

"With places like Tirunelveli and Dindigul hosting matches this year, that'll help the game spread far and wide," Kumble signed off.