India vs New Zealand, 2nd Test: Leg-spinner Amit Mishra toils hard in optional practice session
Only four India regulars -- Kohli, Rahane, Rohit and Wriddhiman Saha -- turned up for practice today.
Kolkata: Team India may have sealed the issue with four bowlers in the first cricket Test in Kanpur but going by early indications Amit Mishra is likely to get a call in the playing XI in the second match here as the leg-spinner was seen slugging hard both with ball and bat during practice session, here on Wednesday.
India coach Anil Kumble, himself a legspin legend, had underlined the importance of playing five bowlers and was seen in a long freewheeling chat with former captain Sourav Ganguly now the head of Cricket Association of Bengal. (ALSO READ: Gautam Gambhir recalled for India's remaining Tests against New Zealand, replaces injured KL Rahul)
The duo saw the wicket and spoke to curator Sujan Mukherjee and as Mishra kept bowling to captain Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, Ajinkya Rahane in today's optional practice session.
Terming himself old-fashioned, Kumble said: "In this squad we will only look at what is needed for that playing XI. We have constantly gone with five bowlers but in the last Test we felt an additional batsman was needed."
Rohit is back in his favourite venue where he had scored his ODI world record of 264 and is also back among runs (68 not out) in the second essay in Kanpur after a disappointing outing in the first.
Kumble hinted that the Mumbaikar may retain his place, which means injured Lokesh Rahul's replacement Gautam Gambhir may have to wait for his Test return after a gap of two years.
Gambhir did not attend today's practice session as he joined the team only in the evening. (ALSO READ: Sourav Ganguly not expecting Eden Gardens track to turn as much)
"His (Rohit's) batting form in the second innings augurs well for the team. That 100-plus partnership with Jadeja was crucial to take the game away from the New Zealanders. It ensured that we take the momentum and it carried over after that dominating session. It's not just good for the team but I'm sure it would have done a boost to his confidence," Kumble said.
As for the pitch, which has mostly remained under cover, it may not turn straightway from day one as India may feel the need for a third spinning option, something that was evident from Mishra's body language at the optional practice today.
Only four India regulars -- Kohli, Rahane, Rohit and Wriddhiman Saha -- turned up for practice today while the spin duo of Ravichandra Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja, who accounted for 16 scalps in India's 197-run win in the first Test in Kanpur, opted for rest. (ALSO READ: Former Indian skipper Kapil Dev to ring bell at Eden Gardens during 2nd Test)
Mishra, meanwhile, swung his arm for close to an hour before padding up to face a few balls from the likes of Barinder Sran, Kuldeep Yadav and Jayant Yadav, the replacement for Ishant Sharma, who's down with chikungunya.
If Mishra is included, then India might as well stick to the remaining players with either Ajinkya Rahane or Rohit as the likely options for the opening slot vacated by Rahul.
With conditions overcast and muggy, the groundsmen did not take any chance as they kept most of the field covered leaving only the wicket and practice arena open.
A win in the second Test will not only seal the three-match series for India but hand Kohli's men the number one position in the Test rankings.
India are unbeaten from 12 matches at home which includes 10 victories and two draws since December 2012.