India’s head coach Anil Kumble has made it pretty clear that the team management will be looking to make the strategy which will aim to get 20 wickets in a Test. As the first Test against England is approaching, Kumble said the team combination hasn’t been decided as yet for the match. He is also pretty pleased with the successful performance of India’s bowling attack in eh last six Tests, after his arrival in the team.
Commenting about the team’s preparations Kumble said, “We only focus on how our bowling attack can claim 20 wickets on a case-by-case basis, rather than think about our spin and pace departments separately. It doesn’t matter whether the wickets arrive via our spinners or fast bowlers or part-timers.”
He further added, “I’m happy that all our bowlers in the six Tests (in the West Indies tour and against New Zealand) have contributed in getting the opposition all out in every innings for victories, barring the Test in Jamaica.”
Since 2011, it will be the fourth test series between India and England and the interestingly, in the last three series India has lost to England.
Talking about the upcoming results, Kumble said, “It is a totally different England team that is coming, it is a new Indian team that is playing against England. Yes, there have been some players who have played in the last series, but it is a totally different series. For us, what is really good is that we have been playing Test cricket, right from West Indies onwards.”
He further added, “Every player is looking forward to this five-Test series. For us, immediate performances matter, and that’s the confidence we would like to take to the series.”
The all-rounder, Hardik Pandya is the new addition to the Indian test squad. He had been chosen after seeing his skills despite his inexperience in first-class cricket.
Justifying Pandya’s inclusion in the team, Kumble said, “Hardik is an extremely talented player. Yes, the shorter format is totally different. But I think all of us have seen the potential that Hardik has. We could see that he is a quality player and that’s what we have backed him in this series for. We got him into the Test squad because we know the value of an all-rounder; we understand the importance of a fifth bowler. If someone can bowl at 140 kph and give you the option of batting really well lower down in the order, that’s a great option to have. So, we’re really looking at how Hardik develops.”
Karun Nair can also make his debut in this upcoming series in absence of Rohit Sharma. Talking about him Indian coach said, “Karun has done all the hard yards in domestic cricket of scoring runs heavily and also regularly. There was a little bit of a talk of not performing for India A in Australia. But we are looking at consistency, and he has done all the hard work and that’s why he was a part of the New Zealand squad as well. Since then, he has gone into Ranji Trophy and got runs, got hundreds. It’s opened an opportunity for Karun because Rohit [Sharma] is now injured.”
He also added, “Karun is certainly someone we have kept a close eye on and backed him for all the good things he has done in domestic cricket. I’m sure he will get an opportunity, and when that happens we will back him to go and get the runs for India as well as he has done for Karnataka.”
Indian team has faced crucial injury issues in the recent couple of months especially in tests, talking about that Kumble said, “I’ve been through that as a player, so I know how it feels when a player sits out and watches another player playing. Of course, all of us want the team to do well and the player who has been replaced also to do well, but having said that I think it’s important that we keep all of them in the loop.”
He concluded, “It’s unfortunate that someone like K. L. Rahul is missing out, but we’re hoping that he will come back soon. So is Bhuvi (Bhuvneshwar Kumar), so is Shikhar [Dhawan], it’s unfortunate that he hasn’t recovered. It is a big blow to Rohit as well.”