India’s Test vice-captain KL Rahul feels it is never easy to predict the nature of a track but there is a “temptation” to play three spinners in the first Test against Australia, beginning in Nagpur on Thursday.
No clarity on three key slots yet
With less than 48 hours left for the Border-Gavaskar Trophy to kick off, Rahul didn’t provide any definitive answers about three key slots in the team — the wicketkeeper, the third spinner and the number five in the batting order.
Asked if Shubman Gill will bat in the middle-order, Rahul said, “We still haven’t decided on the final XI. It’s going to be a tough decision. There are guys who have performed exceedingly well and there are a few spots open so there are a few discussions going on and the players are being spoken to.”
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VCA track may aid spinners
The VCA track is expected to assist spinners right from the beginning, but Rahul doesn’t want to be a soothsayer when it comes to reading the 22-yard strip. “Yes, we did see it (the pitch), but it’s still too early to really know what the pitch is going to do. We need to come here on the day of the match to know how it’s really going to play,” he told reporters.
“We can only look at it and assume it’s going to play a certain way, but you never know with pitches. Yes, there is the temptation to play three spinners because we’re playing in India. We’ll take that call on the day of the game or the day before the game,” the stylish right-hander said.
With skipper Rohit Sharma back in the mix, Rahul was asked if he would like to bat in the middle-order where he had started his Test career back in 2014. “Whatever the team has asked me to do, I try and do my best for the team, and if that is something that the team wants me to do here, I’ll be more than happy to do it,” Rahul said, though it is unlikely that he would come down the order.
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‘Reverse swing will play a huge role’
Rahul feels with the quality in the Australian bowling line-up, reverse swing in the dry and abrasive conditions can play a huge role.
“It always plays a huge role in India. We have seen that historically as well. Any team that has quality fast bowlers who can exploit reverse swing will be dangerous on pitches like these. That’s something that we have tried to prepare for over the last week,” he said.
“We all know the Australian team has always produced high-quality fast bowlers, and we know the threat they can pose. That’s the beauty of playing against Australia, that’s what excites you and something we are kicked about. With David Warner, Usman Khawaja, Travis Head, Alex Carey and Matt Renshaw in the mix, the southpaw heavy Aussie line-up may just give an advantage to the home team. I think it will help our bowlers a little bit,” he added.
(With Agency inputs)