India could play three spinners in Nagpur, KL Rahul indicates
India's vice-captain KL Rahul, on Tuesday, admitted that India will be tempted to play three spinners in the first Test of the Border-Gavaskar series in Nagpur, starting February 9. The Vidarbha Cricket Association Stadium in Nagpur is known to produce spin-friendly tracks, commonly known as rank-turners. India have four specialist spinners in the form of Ravichandran Ashwin, Kuldeep Yadav, Ravindra Jadeja, and Axar Patel.
Why does this story matter?
- As stated, the surface at the Vidarbha Cricket Association Stadium in Nagpur offers spin on Day 1 itself.
- India have the required ammunition in terms of spin to dominate the Aussies.
- Ashwin is a classical off-spinner, while Kuldeep offers a rare left-arm wrist spin.
- Meanwhile, left-arm spinners Jadeja and Axar have similar skill sets.
- The former is likely to return to the Playing XI.
Here is what Rahul said
Rahul, the incumbent Indian Test vice-captain, indicated that India could play three spinners in Nagpur. However, the final combination depends upon the pitch. "There will be a temptation to play three spinners because of the turning tracks in India, but we would know the pitch on the day of the game," said Rahul during a media interaction in Nagpur on Tuesday.
Nagpur last hosted a Test in November 2017
Nagpur last hosted a Test in November 2017 (India vs Sri Lanka). The hosts won that Test by an innings and 239 runs. Virat Kohli scored a double-century, while Ashwin and Jadeja took a combined total of 13 wickets. Notably, India have won four out of six Tests at this venue. South Africa won in 2010, while the 2012 Test against England was drawn.
A look at India's spin attack
Ashwin and Jadeja have served as India's frontline spinners in Tests. However, the latter has returned to India's squad after an injury lay-off. Axar delivered the goods in the absence of Jadeja. He has 47 wickets in just eight Tests at an incredible average of 14.29. Besides, Kuldeep has been India's trump card across formats. He could be India's x-factor in the series.
India's squad for first two Tests against Australia
India's squad for first two Tests against Australia: Rohit Sharma (captain), KL Rahul (vice-captain), Shubman Gill, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli, KS Bharat (wk), Ishan Kishan (wk), R. Ashwin, Axar Patel, Kuldeep Yadav, Ravindra Jadeja, Mohammed Shami, Mohammed Siraj, Umesh Yadav, Jaydev Unadkat, Suryakumar Yadav.
The Australian batting line-up has five prominent left-handers - David Warner, Usman Khawaja, Ashton Agar, Travis Head, and Alex Carey. Interestingly, Indian spinner Ashwin has the most dismissals against left-handed batters in Test cricket (226).