Kumble: 'We will have Rahul for the Test'

The Indian camp, already buoyed by the return of fit-again opener K. L. Rahul to the squad, is keen to recover from a probing final day in Rajkot when England managed to exert considerable pressure on the host.

Anil Kumble defended the bowlers, stating that it (Rajkot) was a good wicket to bat on and six centuries from either side proved that.   -  AP

The members of the Indian team, full of verve, were engaged in a game of football at a corner of the arena here on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, Anil Kumble was eyeing something that hid beneath it, the mysteries of the upcoming second Test. The Indian coach was having a good hard look at the pitch.



Listen to Anil Kumble's interaction with the media
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The surface for the drawn first Test in Rajkot would not have pleased the Indians. There was not enough purchase for the spinners; the pitch did not deteriorate much and the turn was largely slow.

The track for the second Test, beginning here on Thursday, is likely to be far more conducive to R. Ashwin & Co. It could be a drier surface, where the ball might grip for the spinners.

The Indian camp, already buoyed by the return of fit-again opener K. L. Rahul to the squad, is keen to recover from a probing final day in Rajkot when England managed to exert considerable pressure on the host.

Read: Rahul called for Vizag Test

Asked about gains and losses from the first Test, Kumble said, “I think it was a draw. It was a good wicket to bat on. There were six centuries in the Test.”

He wanted to look ahead and not ponder over the last day of the first Test when India lost its sixth wicket in the 43rd over and skipper Virat Kohli and Ravindra Jadeja had to bat the last 10 overs to salvage a draw.

Kumble observed, “I don’t want to read too much into our batting on day five in Rajkot. Had Cheteshwar Pujara taken DRS, India could have been 170 for one when the game ended.”

The Indian coach was referring to Pujara, not opting for DRS, after being ruled leg-before to leg-spinner Adil Rashid when replays showed the ball had clearly pitched outside leg.

“I guess when there are only 40-50 overs remaining on the final day and DRS was available, one should have taken it,” said Kumble.

Perhaps, the Indian coach is not entirely pleased with the manner his team went about utilising the DRS — this requires tactical acumen — in the series opener. But then, these are early days yet for the Indians with this system.

Despite the success of the England spinners in the first Test, Kumble believed the Indian batsmen did well to last 160-odd overs in the first innings.

Kumble, however, wanted the Indians to sharpen their close catching. “This Indian team prides itself on its fielding and catching. We let ourselves down in the first Test and need to get better.” It is those captivating close-in catches that lift a spin combination.

Despite a possibility of influential swing bowler James Anderson playing in the second Test , Kumble seemed unperturbed. “He has got over 450 Test wickets and has played here before. We will have Rahul for the Test. It will be good if both teams played their full teams.”

Even as the focus was on spin, Kumble, rather smartly, dwelt on the pace attack. “I though Shami and Umesh bowled exceptionally well. They got the ball to reverse and troubled all batsmen.”

Mind games are being played. Come Thursday and the Indians need to get back to their winning ways at home.