India batting coach Vikram Rathour backed Shubman Gill, Yashasvi Jaiswal and Shreyas Iyer ahead of the second Test against England in Visakhapatnam and said that they will eventually score big runs, while attributing the lack of ‘daddy hundreds’ by Indian batters to the changing dynamics of world cricket.
“Cricket has changed. We can see that in the way it is being played around the world. The runs are being scored quickly, at better strike rates. Batters are taking more chances. We also need to be a little patient with the young batters, who haven’t played too much Test cricket. Gill, Jaiswal, Shreyas – eventually they will start getting big runs,” Rathour said during a press conference on Wednesday.
The coach also attempted to draw a fine line between playing with intent, as opposed to aggression and said that batters need to be intelligent with their shot selection and play according to the conditions.
“There is a difference between playing with intent and playing attacking cricket. I want them to play with intent. If there is an opportunity to score runs, they should take that opportunity,” he added.
Rathour also believes that though the sweep and reverse sweeps are welcome additions to a batter’s arsenal against spin, Indian batters can still succeed in spinning conditions by using their feet and playing straight and didn’t necessarily need to take a leaf out of England’s book.
“We play a traditional way; our strong areas are going straight and using our feet. We can keep doing that [and succeed]. If we can add some shots where we can score some runs square of the wicket, that is always a good addition,” he said.
However, during an almost three-hour practice session on Wednesday at the ACA-VDCA Stadium here, Indian batters brought out the sweep and reverse-sweep in abundance, while seldom going on the backfoot.
Gill and Jaiswal had the longest stints in the nets, with the right-hander looking the most assured sweeper of the ball on the day.
Though Jaiswal struggled slightly with the sweep shot, top-edging one and then getting a bottom edge on another, the left-hander eventually managed to keep the ball along the ground.
Injuries to KL Rahul and Ravindra Jadeja have added intrigue to India’s potential playing eleven for the second Test. Domestic run-machine Sarfaraz Khan was added to the squad that includes uncapped batter Rajat Patidar, and though one of them is sure to make his debut, Rathour said picking just one of them will be a tough choice.
Sarfaraz, who had a one-on-one chat with Rohit Sharma for about half an hour ahead of a brief 20-minute hit in the nets, swept occasionally. He preferred to advance to the spinners and tonk the ball down the ground, middling it consistently. Patidar couldn’t connect the sweeps initially but soon found his rhythm.
Jadeja, meanwhile, looks set to be replaced with Kuldeep Yadav, who was the first player to have a bat in the nets. He batted and bowled extensively during training, setting the tone for the slew of sweeps and reverse paddles that followed. All-rounder Washington Sundar, too, batted for a fair bit of time but didn’t roll his arm over much.
Though the pitch is bound to assist spin, Rathour doesn’t think the ball will turn from the first day. Regardless, England seems to have taken the pitch out of the equation with their brand of cricket.
So much so, that Rathour said that teams such as England are expected to win a Test match in India because India does the same win it goes overseas.
“When you play against good teams, they have also come prepared. We go out and we also win Test matches, in Australia, England, and South Africa, recently. It is expected for the other teams to come to India and win a Test match here.”
Down 0-1, India will hope that ‘expectation’ remains limited to just one game, otherwise its 11-year unbeaten record of never losing a home Test series could be in serious jeopardy.
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