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“Spin is India’s strength, they should stick to it” - Anshuman Gaekwad on team composition for 3rd Test

Team India
Team India
ANALYST
Modified 24 Feb 2021
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Former player Anshuman Gaekwad has opined that India should stick to their strengths when picking their playing XI for the pink-ball Test against England in Ahmedabad on Wednesday.

Critics have been debating about whether India should go in with an extra pacer instead of three spinners, as the third Test is a Day-Night encounter.

However, speaking to Sportskeeda’s Indranil Basu in an SK Live session on Facebook, Anshuman Gaekwad said that India should back their spinners irrespective of the conditions on offer.

Anshuman Gaekwad said in this regard:

“A lot depends on what the wicket is like (for deciding team combination). I believe any team should play to their strengths. If your strength is spin, rely on your spinners. Don’t go by what the opposition is, what the wicket is like or what is going to happen day after or on the fifth day. The match might finish in three and a half days. Why think about the fifth day?”

India played three spinners in the second Test in Chennai, with Ravichandran Ashwin and debutant Axar Patel picking up most of the wickets. Praising Ashwin's performance in that game, Anshuman Gaekwad said:

“Ashwin is a match-winner. He is a champion. You need somebody to pick up wickets as well as get those runs. Even if he gets 100 or 50 and picks up those wickets - five, ten or eight - it helps the team save another player in the team. It could be a batsman or a bowler. The captain and coach can rely on one guy who can do both. So we are one plus in the team. He has proved it.”

Ashwin picked up a five-for and also scored a hundred in the second Test at his home ground in Chennai.

When Kuldeep Yadav’s time comes, he must go big: Anshuman Gaekwad

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If India decide to go in with two spinners for the pink-ball Test, in all probability, left-arm spinner Kuldeep Yadav will miss out. The left-arm wrist-spinner missed the first Test too.

Anshuman Gaekwad, who is also a former coach of the Indian team, admitted that the axe would be harsh on Kuldeep Yadav, but the team always comes first. Anshuman Gaekwad said in this regard:

“It is tough (on Kuldeep Yadav), but what can you do. Only 11 can play. It depends on what combination you are looking at, how is the wicket and who the opposition is.”

Citing the example of India’s famed spin quartet of the past, Anshuman Gaekwad said:

“We had Bishan (Singh Bedi), Chandra (BS Chandrasekhar), (Erapalli) Prasanna and (Srinivas) Venkataraghavan. Most of the times, Venkat was not in the team. Prasanna used to play. And whenever he (Venkat) got his chance, he did his work. That’s what Kuldeep has to do. I am sure he knows that his time will come. Then, when the time comes, you should not pick up one or two wickets but go big - five-for.”

Kuldeep Yadav has so far claimed 26 wickets in seven Tests, after making his debut in 2017 against Australia in Dharamsala.

The hosts will look to win the third Test and get a step closer to sealing their place in the inaugural World Test Championship final at Lord's.

Published 24 Feb 2021, 01:22 IST
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