Saturday, 25 November, 2017

Mathews set to play as batsman in India Tests

Rahul and Vijay are likely to be India's first choice opener Rahul and Vijay are likely to be India's first choice opener
Kristopher Love | 15 November, 2017, 15:37

"We will miss Mathews as a bowler as he gives us more confidence and can balance the side really well". India played a away Test series against the islanders in 2015 followed by a short limited overs series at home in 2016 and in the current year are playing them full series across formats on home and away basis.

Kolkata: The Indian cricket team on Wednesday cancelled its scheduled training session on the eve of the first Test against Sri Lanka due to inclement weather.

Fate, however, would thrust Dhawan back into Test-match whites.

Sri Lanka seems to be India's pre-Christmas snack, for the nine-nil multi-format annihilation that the Lankans endured at home would have melted even Scrooge's heart.

The first Test usually sets the tone for the rest of the series and Sri Lanka have drawn the first Test of a series on last three occasions in India but they lost the series theref after.

Ravindra Jadeja will have an opportunity to reclaim the top bowling and all-rounder spot in the ICC rankings when India take on Sri Lanka in the three- match Test series starting in Kolkata on Thursday.

Bhuvneshwar Kumar could be logical replacement for Hardik in the first Test
Bhuvneshwar Kumar could be logical replacement for Hardik in the first Test

All-rounder Mathews, who is returning from a calf injury that made him miss the Pakistan Tests, will be employed exclusively as a batsman. It happened with K. L. (Rahul) initially, it happened with Shikhar in between. I don't think he will bowl here.

"Whatever I have, when you talk of memories at the Eden, they are only happy ones. There's no problem with that". "He has all the experience, and at the top of the order, and we will get maximum out of it".

If this is so, it will be an understandable but hard choice. Now India are hosting a return series comprising three Tests and equal number of ODIs and T20Is.

But a deeper look at Vijay's figures reveals how important his contributions have been. For most part, he does his bat do the talking. "Now that Shikhar and KL playing well it's very hard to pick two out of three when all of them are so good, and they have done so well".

In this period, he also played through a wrist injury that restricted some of his strokeplay.

Kohli said his world No 1 Test side have to use the series to toughen up ahead of their visit to South Africa in January and England later in 2018. We have to maintain a balance of how to engage fans and keep players fresh at the same time and keep cricket exciting and keep it competitive through out the year. Rahul, meanwhile, began his Test career in Australia, the last of those four tours, playing the last two Tests and scoring a century in Sydney. Then comes South Africa.