A couple of days before the first Test between India and Australia begin at the VCA Stadium in Nagpur, the wicket sported a completely dry look, with the indication that spin is going to be the most important factor during the match.
With India losing Rishabh Pant and Shreyas Iyer, two of their best batters of spin bowling, there might be a concern in the batting order, but perhaps that wouldn’t deviate from them picking three spinners in the line-up.
In the pre-match press conference, KL Rahul stated that playing three spinners would certainly be in their plans.
“We did see the pitch, but I think it’s too early to really know what the pitch is going to do. We will still have to come here on the day of the game and only then we can only look at it and assume it’s going to play a certain play, but you never know what the pitch is. So yeah, there will be a temptation to play three spinners. Because we are playing in India and there’s no surprise the pitches are all going to spin,” Rahul said in the press conference in Nagpur.
“The playing XI, we obviously try to make a decision based on what the best decision is for the team and that particular Test match. We have done that in the last few years as well. There have been questions raised previously about why a certain player is played.
"Even in Bangladesh, I remember Kuldeep got Player of the Match and there were so many questions about why he didn’t play the next Test match. Obviously, it’s not the only thinking behind such decisions is to see what is the best XI in those particular conditions…
"You can play for 20-30 years of the game, and even after you retire, there’s nobody who can look at the pitch and say this is exactly what’s going to happen,” KL Rahul concluded.
The absence of Pant and Iyer has disturbed the combination a fair bit and the return of Rohit Sharma further added to the permutation. In the absence of Rohit, Gill showed great agility to play spin and now he is touted to play in the middle order. Rahul suggested that if the need arises, he is happy to go down the order.
“If it arises, I am more than happy to do that. Whatever little cricket I have played for the country, I have always done whatever the team has asked me to do. I try and prepare that way, I try and do my best for the team. And if that is something the team wants me to do here, I’ll be more than happy to do that,” KL Rahul said at the pre-match press conference on Tuesday.
“We still haven’t decided on the final playing XI. There are still a couple of days left for the game to start. But all I can say is it’s going to be a really, really tough decision. There are guys who performed exceedingly well and there are a few spots open.
"So yes, there are a few discussions going on and the players have been spoken to and whoever’s going to play will definitely know what their role is. We’ll have to wait for Day 1 of the Test match, till the toss, to find out what the XI is,” he said.