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Mohammad Kaif concerned about Team India’s batting for 2nd Test against England
By SMCS - Jan 31, 2024 11:30 am
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Former India player turned commentator Mohammad Kaif said that Team India have a long batting line-up for the Test series against England as they are well aware of their struggle on turning tracks. Notably, India lost to England by 28 runs in the first Test in Hyderabad. While chasing a target of 231, they were bundled out for 202 in their second innings as debutant left-arm spinner Tom Hartley registered a spell of 7/62. The hosts played the first Test with Axar Patel as the third spinner ahead of Kuldeep Yadav due to his batting abilities.

Team India
Team India

Meanwhile, India’s batting, however, will not be at their best in the second Test, which starts on February 2 in Visakhapatnam. While Virat Kohli had pulled out of the first two Tests before starting, KL Rahul and Ravindra Jadeja have been ruled out of the second Test due to injury. Sarfaraz Khan, Saurabh Kumar and Washington Sundar have been announced as replacements as well.

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In an interview with Timesofindia.com, Kaif said, “India’s main plan is that they should have players who can bat till at least No. 9. When you play on a turning track, even Rohit Sharma knows that India’s batsmen will also struggle, so he wants assurance and security in the batting. The team that played in the last Test was the best playing XI. There were 5 proper bowlers, and batting till No. 9,” Kaif said. “But in the next match it will be difficult to fill in the void created by Jadeja’s absence, so Washington Sundar can also be considered because if Kuldeep Yadav plays then the batting will only be till No. 8. But I think because Kuldeep is already there in the squad, he will get the nod ahead of Sundar.”

India
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While Axar Patel managed to score 44 runs with the bat in the first innings of the Hyderabad Test, he failed to do well with the ball, claiming only three wickets as well. Mohammad Kaif also shared that it would be unfair to drop youngsters without giving them a fair chance and select the veteran likes of Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane. He, however, backed Pujara to return to the Test team based on his good Ranji Trophy form as well.

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“What I feel is that an Indian ODI team is playing Test cricket at the moment. Be it Yashasvi Jaiswal, Rohit Sharma or Shubman Gill, all are strokemakers. Gill loves to hit shots, but doesn’t have much confidence in his defence. So he has to make adjustments to his defensive technique to see off good bowling spells. Even Shreyas Iyer is an aggressive player,” Mohammad Kaif concluded. “I hope it isn’t too late till Virat Kohli comes (after the second Test). Dhruv Jurel or on current form, even Sarfaraz Khan can get a look in. But in the absence of KL Rahul and Jadeja, the Indian batting will weaken, no doubt about that. Axar may have to bat at No.8 and that’s why I feel Washington Sundar can get a look-in because they want batting till No. 9.”