Prior to the first Test of the five-match Test series, which will begin on Wednesday (August 1) at Edgbaston (Birmingham), Indian Test vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane talks about the team. He comes out to support two experienced Indian spinners Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja along with mentioning Kuldeep Yadav as the X-factor.
On Monday, two days prior to the first Test, Rahane addressed the media where he spoke about the team scenario for the first Test.
Talking about the Indian spin selection, Rahane said, “Kuldeep is the X-factor in our team. We will have to see how the wicket will be like tomorrow and the day after but we don’t have to forget about Ashwin and Jadeja. Ashwin and Jadeja have been doing really well for us; Ashwin especially with his batting as well as his bowling,”
Indian opener Shikhar Dhawan and the Test specialist top-order batsman Cheteshwar Pujara are currently not in the good touch. After struggling in the limited-overs series of this tour, where Dhawan failed to play any big knocks, he scored two ducks in the three-day warm-up game against Essex.
Meanwhile, Pujara represented Yorkshire in this English County season to get prepared before the long Test series. However, he scored only 172 runs with the average of just 14.33 and his best knock was just 41. Moreover, Pujara also failed to impress in the warm-up game against Essex where he scored just 1 and 23.
However, Rahane has claimed that the team is not worried about their recent poor forms. He said, “We are not at all worried. Both are quality batsmen. It takes you one innings to get back in form. We all back them. But ultimately, the coach and captain will take the final decision.”
English leg-spinner Adil Rashid, who has recently impressed in the limited-overs cricket, has been included in the first Test squad. Earlier, in this year, he wished to play only the white-ball cricket at present and take a leave from the first-class cricket. Due to that reason, some cricket experts and some former English cricketers have criticised his selection in the Test cricket.
Talking about Rashid’s selection, Rahane said, “I am not surprised with Adil Rashid’s selection – he is a very good bowler. Right now, playing in England is like playing in Mumbai or Chennai. We should back our abilities and focus on our skills.”
Like the Indian team, Rahane had a decent performance in the warm-up game against Essex. While Rahane mentioned that it is always a challenge to play in England, he also said that the Test series will be a test of their mind and character.
Rahane said prior to the Birmingham Test, “We had decent practice in Essex before and during the match. It is important to focus on the mindset especially in England – how quickly you adjust to the conditions. It will be a test of our mind and character here.
“Playing in England is always a challenge, It is important to play some good cricket, rather than thinking of the result. Guys are in good shape. (We need to) enjoy the challenge of playing overseas. Really looking forward to that.”