IND vs NZ: Good to see the fight from India’s lower order, says Vikram Rathour

The India batting coach says bowlers are being deliberately given more chances to bat in the nets in the last two years. 

File picture of India batting coach Vikram Rathour (left) and head coach Rahul Dravid.   -  PTI

Struggling at 51 for 5 and ahead only by 100, the end of India’s innings seemed near in the morning session, especially as Tim Southee had his tails up. By the end of the day, however, the tables had turned as R. Ashwin, Shreyas Iyer, and Wriddhiman Saha held the innings together.

Vikram Rathour, the batting coach, was buoyed by the performance of those coming in to bat after the specialist batters.

“It has been a deliberate effort on our part to give them a lot more batting whenever they are having nets,” Rathour said at the end of the fourth day’s play at Green Park here.

“That’s what we have been doing for a couple of years now. We’ve been giving a lot of batting to all our tailenders and bowlers as well. That strategy is paying off. They are giving their best, they are understanding their role – how important it is for the tail to contribute because we’ve been on the suffering end mostly in the past when other teams have done that against us. It is good to see that we’re doing it now, and doing it repeatedly,” he said.

READ: India eyes win after Shreyas Iyer, Wriddhiman Saha rally

Saha came out to bat despite suffering from a stiff neck and grafted his way to a half-century. Rathour praised his effort.

“He had a really stiff neck, so he was struggling. But knowing Saha, who is an ideal team man, we knew if we need him, he will do whatever is required to be there and do the tough thing for the team which he did today. I think he played an extremely important knock at the stage that the team was at that point. And that is what all of us expect from Wriddhi, he’s always been that kind of a person whom you can count on,” he said.

Rathour accepted that both Ajinkya Rahane and Cheteshwar Pujara were going through a lean run but backed the middle-order giants to come. Both fell for low scores today, for the second time in the contest.

“Of course you want the top order to contribute. They have played 80-90 odd Test matches, so they must have done well for us. I understand that both of them are going through a lean phase, but they have played very important knocks for us in the past, and we’re sure they’re going to come back and play more important knocks for our team in the future as well.

With Shreyas Iyer scored a century and a half-century on debut and with the captain Virat Kohli coming in for the next Test, who will have to sit out in Mumbai? Rathour said the selection call will be taken later.

He praised Shreyas for his excellent 65.

“It’s very exciting of course when a debutant comes and scores a hundred; that’s something special. And I thought he looked even better in the second innings. All credit to him. It’s always exciting as a coach, as a support staff to see somebody walking into the team and doing well for himself.”

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