Bangalore: The Indian team’s preparations for their four-Test tour of the West Indies continued on a bright, sunny afternoon on Saturday here at the National Cricket Academy.
While it may be too early for team combinations to be discussed — after all there are two practice games ahead of the first Test in Antigua — two challengers for a place in the Test XI, Amit Mishra and Stuart Binny, were looking for a chance to make their respective cases.
India Test captain Virat Kohli (left) does some stretching exercises with Ajinkya Rahane during a practice session at the National Cricket Academy in Bangalore on Saturday. Pic/AFP
A second spinner could figure in the playing XI given that many tracks in the Caribbean have slowed down and Mishra, for his part, would like to be that second spinner, ahead of Ravindra Jadeja, who has been Ravichandran Ashwin’s stable partner for a while now.
A leggie usually has a stronger case but Jadeja’s perceived ability to bat gives him the edge. “I think my role in this team is to be a wicket-taker. But we have to look at the conditions in West Indies. Sometimes maybe we will play only one spinner and four-five fast bowlers,” said Mishra.
Stuart Binny (left) and Amit Mishra during a media interaction in Bangalore on Saturday. Pics/PTI
“I will have to bowl according to the conditions, as a senior bowler I have to grasp things quickly and tell the youngsters, how and what kind of deliveries to bowl,” added the leggie, who also admitted that it was thrilling to have Anil Kumble, a fellow legspinner, as coach.
For Binny on the other hand, it will be about once again wanting to make best use of the chance that could come his way if Virat Kohli and Kumble decide that a pace-bowling all-rounder at seven, supported by two pacers and two spinners, would be a better bet than five full bowlers.
The Karnataka all-rounder is patience personified though and is willing to wait for his chance. “It depends on whether we play with the extra bowler or not. Depends on the wicket also. I may play as the third seamer or if the wicket has grass, then I may play as the fourth.
“Basically my role is to take some of the pressure off our fast bowlers by keeping one end tight. That’s basically my job when I bowl. Obviously with the bat, it is pretty much simple. Obviously to bat with guys who are set and try and take them to scores that we want to put on the board and for me to bat with the lower order is going to be crucial,” said Binny, who may well be fighting for one spot with Rohit Sharma, who has been named his ‘buddy’ in a new move to improve communication within the team.
“Communication is everything in this sport. It’s about senior guys communicating with junior guys. Actually, we tied up each guy with another, it’s called the buddy programme. Me and Rohit paired up together. Rohit has played a lot of one-day and Test cricket. For me to share thoughts with him is that’s what the way forward. If I can help Rohit by two per cent, maybe he can help me with 30 per cent. That’s what we were looking to do today, helping each other in situations.”
Nice touch indeed.