Ahead of the first Test of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy against Australia, Indian batter KL Rahul admitted that there will be temptation to play three spinners in Nagpur. The first Test between India and Australia will take place from February 9 onwards at Vidarbha Cricket Association Stadium.
“There will be a temptation to play three spinners. We are playing in India, where pitches are going to spin. But it is still early to know what the pitch is going to do exactly,” said Rahul in a pre-match press conference. Rahul said that the batters have worked on playing spin and admitted that the series is a must-win for India as they have their eyes on the World Test Championship (WTC) final.
“We have worked on playing spin. We know how pitches are going to be there in India and what to expect. So keeping that in mind, we are practicing. Each of us have individual plans, everyone wants to play their own way, which has been discussed with the group,” said Rahul. “It is a must-win series. When it is India versus Australia, both teams want to win and it is a big series. It is no different than any other Border-Gavaskar Trophy series. We do realise that we want to play the World Test Championship final. But we also want to stay in the present and take it one game at a time,” added the batter.
Rahul admitted that reverse swing is going to play a huge role in the series. “Reverse swing has played a huge role here historically as we have seen it (during the England series in 2012-13 which India lost). Any team with quality fast bowlers who can exploit the reverse swing can be dangerous here. As a batter, you also try to prepare for it. Australia has always produced high-quality fast bowlers and we know the threat that they can pose, be it with the new ball or the old ball which starts reverse swinging. It is the beauty of playing against top teams,” said the batter.
Rahul said that since there are plenty of left-handers on the Australian side, the bowlers will not struggle with their line and length. “Bowlers will be at the advantage with so many left-handers. When there are so many left and right-handed batters, bowlers struggle to adjust their line and length. It is unique, I do not think any other team has so many left-handed batters,” said Rahul.
Describing the pitch, Smith was quoted as saying to reporters, “Pretty dry, particularly one end.” “I think it will take a bit of spin, particularly the left-arm spinner taking it into our left-handers. There is a section there that is quite dry.”
“Other than that, I can not really get a good gauge on it. I do not think there will be a heap of bounce in the wicket, I think it will be quite skiddy for the seamers and maybe a bit of up-and-down movement as the game goes on.” “The cracks felt quite loose. I am not entirely sure – we will wait and see,” concluded Smith.
Australia’s last tour of India was in 2017. India won that series 2-1. India is the current holder of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy after winning the series in Australia in 2020-21.
The series will consist of four Test matches. The series is a big one for both teams as they look to nail down a spot in the World Test Championship (WTC) final. Australia squad: Pat Cummins (c), Ashton Agar, Scott Boland, Alex Carey, Cameron Green, Peter Handscomb, Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head, Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Nathan Lyon, Lance Morris, Todd Murphy, Matthew Renshaw, Steve Smith (vc), Mitchell Starc, Mitchell Swepson, David Warner
India squad: (for the first two Tests) Rohit Sharma (c), KL Rahul (vc), Shubman Gill, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli, Shreyas Iyer, KS Bharat, Ishan Kishan, Ravichandran Ashwin, Axar Patel, Kuldeep Yadav, Ravindra Jadeja, Mohammed Shami, Mohammed Siraj, Umesh Yadav, Jaydev Unadkat, Suryakumar Yadav