Blow to Gautam Gambhir as Anil Kumble books Vizag Test opening spot for KL Rahul
Anil Kumble made it amply clear that opener KL Rahul would be making a comeback into the playing XI against England in the second Test starting Thursday.
New Delhi: As soon as the news of KL Rahul being included in India's squad for 2nd Test against England at Vizag was announced, fans and pundits across the country started contemplating whether this would bring a premature end to Gautam Gambhir's return.
Gambhir, who flopped in 1st Test by scoring 29 and 0 in two innings respectively, might have expected himself to play at least the 2nd Test and based on his peformance in Visakhapatnam the coach can decide whether he should continue partnering Murali Vijay or not.
India's chief coach Anil Kumble today made it amply clear that opener KL Rahul would be making a comeback into the playing XI against England in the second Test starting Thursday.
With Gautam Gambhir looking out of sync in the face of incisive swing bowling and bounce generated by England pacers in the first Test, the SOS call to Rahul, who played a couple of good knocks against Rajasthan in Ranjit Trophy, was a giveaway that he was back in the fold.
"I think there is still two days left. Rahul is certainly available for selection and you would want Rahul to be in starting line-up and that's the reason he has been included," Kumble said, indicating his preferred opener.
"He (Rahul) had an (hamstring) injury in Kanpur. He was not available for Test and ODIs against New Zealand. Now he has recovered and as a protocol, he played a Ranji Trophy game. Today he scored a hundred (106) and in the first innings he scored 70 plus (76 off 85 balls). Since match is happening close to Vizag (at Vizaianagaram), it's good to have him in the squad and he is available for selection," Kumble elaborated.
When asked about the possible inclusion of Jimmy Anderson in the England starting line-up, Kumble said that the focus is not on a single individual.
"He has 450 Test wickets, that's obviously experience. He has played here before. He is a very important player for England. You need experience and when someone is available, it will be a stronger unit. We will look at England as a team and not focus on any individual. Similarly, we have Rahul, who is now available. It's always good to have full teams," said Kumble.
(With PTI inputs)