Sairaj Bahutule part of Team India's support staff ahead of Mohali Test

Sairaj Bahutule represented India in the early 2000s [Image- BCCI]
Sairaj Bahutule represented India in the early 2000s [Image- BCCI]
Yash Mittal

Former Indian spinner Sairaj Bahutule has linked up with the Indian team in Mohali ahead of the series opener against Sri Lanka.

Bahutule, who represented India in two Tests and eight ODIs in the early 2000s, was seen taking stock of left-arm wrist-spinner Kuldeep Yadav during Team India’s training session on Tuesday (March 01).

The former player is currently serving as bowling coach at the National Cricket Academy. He was also a part of the support staff of the U-19 World Cup-winning team in the Caribbean last month. The senior team is currently on the lookout for a spin-bowling coach. So Bahutule’s presence suggested that he might be in contention for the same.

However, a top BCCI official has denied the speculations, as per CricBuzz. He said that Bahutule’s services are being used on a temporary basis, and he’s expected to return to the NCA in a few days. The official said in this regard:

"Sai has been in Mohali with the Test specialists who had gone there more than a week ago. He has been assisting them in their training while Rahul and others were with the white ball squad. They will be with the side for a couple of more days before going back to the NCA."

Apart from Bahutule, former First-Class player Apurva Desai, NCA trainer Anand Date and physio Patho also joined the Indian team ahead of the first Test.

BCCI allows 50% capacity for former India captain Virat Kohli’s 100th Test

Meanwhile, the landmark 100th Test of former captain Virat Kohli will be played in front of fans after the BCCI decided to allow 50% spectators at the IS Bindra Stadium.

Earlier, the Indian board had decided against allowing spectators for the first Test, citing mounting COVID-19 cases in Punjab. That led to a mass outrage from fans on social media.

On Wednesday, BCCI secretary Jay Shah confirmed the latest development about allowing fans for the game.

‘’The first Test between India and Sri Lanka to be played at the Punjab Cricket Stadium in Mohali will not be held behind closed doors. The decision to allow spectators into the ground is one taken by the State Cricketing Associations and in the present circumstances, is based on various factors. I have spoken with the PCA office bearers, and they have confirmed that cricket fans will be able to witness the historic moment of Virat Kohli playing his 100th Test match.”
BCCI allows crowd at 50 per cent stadium capacity for first India-Sri Lanka Test in Mohali which would be Virat Kohli's 100th game. #ViratKohli

Shah also heaped high praise on Kohli for becoming only the 12th Indian to play 100 Tests.

“I am really looking forward to Virat Kohli’s 100th Test, and wish our champion cricketer the very best. This is an occasion for our fans to savour. May he continue to represent the country in many more matches to come.”

The first Test against Sri Lanka will get underway on March 04.

Edited by Bhargav


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