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Select Team: Should India play 3 spinners in the Kolkata Test?

September 29, 2016 08:36 IST
  • Should India drop Rohit Sharma and bring in an extra spinner?
  • Or should Umesh Yadav make way for Amit Mishra?

Rediff.com's Harish Kotian checks out the options available to skipper Virat Kohli and coach Anil Kumble, and invites you to select the team for the Kolkata Test.

Team India

IMAGE: Team India during the first Test against New Zealand in Kanpur. Photograph: BCCI

Having thrashed New Zealand by 197 runs in the first Test in Kanpur, India will hope to continue the winning momentum in the second Test, which begins at the Eden Gardens, Kolkata, on Friday, September 30.

While the victory margin looked good on paper, in reality New Zealand gave India a good fight at the Green Park in Kanpur.

The visitors had the upper hand for the best part of the first two days before the hosts staged a superb comeback courtesy their spinners, Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja who claimed 16 of the 20 Kiwi wickets.

India may ponder playing a third spinner in Kolkata considering how poorly New Zealand's batsmen fared against the turning ball in the opening game.

India hardly bowled their pacers in the Kanpur Test. Mohammad Shami and Umesh Yadav bowled a total of 42 overs (26 + 16) in the two innings of the 183.2 overs sent down by the hosts, around 22 percent of the total workload.

There is uncertainty about how the Eden Gardens pitch will behave.

With Kolkata experiencing constant rain in the last few days, the entire ground has been under cover. The pitch may have retained some moisture and will take some time to turn, pointed out former India captain and Cricket Association of Bengal President Sourav Ganguly.

'It won't turn from day one,' Dada declared. 'This is the first match of the season on this wicket. There's moisture still left in the pitch so it will depend on the amount of sunshine it gets. But there will be spin as the match progresses.'

Both teams will keep a watch on the sky with the Met department forecasting some rain during the match.

Considering the weather and the pitch, it will be interesting to see if India retains its two fast bowlers to take advantage of the conditions or includes an extra spinner in place of a batsman.

Having three spinners will give Captain Virat Kohli enough options to shuffle his bowlers around, especially when a partnership gets going and also give Ashwin, who picked up a slight injury during the first match, enough rest between long spells.

Will Kohli switch back to his favoured five-bowler strategy? Or will he drop a pace bowler to bring in leggie Amit Mishra?

If India goes in with three spinners, then who will be dropped?

With Ashwin and Jadeja proving they are more than handy with the bat, India could afford to go in with five batsmen.

Rohit Sharma has not been convincing so far, throwing his wicket away in the first innings in Kanpur with a reckless shot though he made up for it in the second innings, hitting an unbeaten 68.

Rohit could be the first name on the chopping block if a batsman has to be dropped.

K L Rahul has been ruled out of the series because of a hamstrong injury, which gives Shikhar Dhawan a chance to stake his claim.

Gautam Gambhir is unlikely to break into the playing eleven ahead of his Delhi team mate Dhawan and may have to wait for his opportunities later in the season -- India plays 13 Tests at home -- if the regular openers fail or get injured.

Uncapped off-spinner Jayant Yadav, who replaces Ishant Sharma for the second Test, too will have to wait, but the time spent with the national team will boost his spirits.

Why don't you help Anil Kumble and Virat Kohli select India's 11 for the second Test?

Do you think India should drop Rohit and bring in an extra spinner?

Or should India retain six batsmen and drop Umesh Yadav to make way for Amit Mishra?

Please click the boxes below to select your India team for the Kolkata Test:

Harish Kotian / Rediff.com
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