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Mumbai Test: Rain likely to play spoilsport on Day 1

Last updated on: December 02, 2021 00:28 IST

IMAGE: Mumbai Cricket Association president Dr Vijay Patil, right, and treasurer Jagdish Achrekar inspect the conditions at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai on Wednesday. Photograph: MCA

The untimely Mumbai monsoon threatens to play spoilsport as there is a fair chance of first day's play being affected by rain during the second Test between India and New Zealand, starting on Friday, which may turn the Wankhede pitch into a bowlers' paradise.


The two teams had to call off their respective training sessions on Wednesday because of persistent rain on Wednesday.

Infact, there is forecast for more rain on Thursday. The Indian team is set to travel all the way to the Bandra-Kurla Complex ground in suburban Mumbai to practice in the indoor facilities.

The Wankhede pitch sported a pretty bald look with all grass shaved off on Wednesday, which could help the slow bowlers after the slow turner at Kanpur's Green Park literally deflated them.

However, the pitch that will be on offer at the Wankhede from Friday is expected to help both seamers as well as spinners.

The persistent rain, with the pitch being under cover, means that there is bound to be a lot of moisture underneath the surface.

The extra moisture will certainly help the seamers way more than it did in Kanpur.

However, with forecast of scattered showers on Friday, both teams, especially India, will wish that the inclement weather doesn't become a factor for the remaining four days.

"Intensity (of the rainfall) will be decreased by December 2," Jayanta Sarkar, head of Mumbai's Regional Meteorological Centre of the IMD, said.

All eyes will be on the kind of combination that India pick for the game. As of now, Mayank Agarwal is all set to be dropped with skipper Virat Kohli coming in the playing XI as the team's support staff, including coach Rahul Dravid and bowling coach Paras Mhambrey, have rallied around the under-fire Ajinkya Rahane, who has an average of less than 20 in 12 Tests this year.

The other change which could happen is Wriddhiman Saha going out with a stiff neck and wicketkeeper Srikar Bharat getting his maiden Test cap and also opening the innings alongside Shubman Gill.

Considering that there will be seam and swing on offer, there will also be a debate whether Mohammed Siraj will be replacing Ishant Sharma or joining him and Umesh Yadav with Axar Patel being sidelined for the game.

"We will have a look at the wicket, then we will see what combination is right: three spinners and two seamers or two spinners and three seamers," Mhambrey said.

"Depending on that, we will decide the playing XI. But everybody in the group believes whoever is part of the team is good enough to represent the country.

"And we know the potential they have in winning the games for us. We will decide the combination depending on the surface, but whomever plays, we believe, has the ability to win the game for India," the Indian bowling coach said.

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