Parthiv Patel has been picked for his experience and keeping, says Anil Kumble
Team India’s coach Anil Kumble interacted with the media ahead of the third Test against England at Mohali, speaking about the inclusion of Parthiv Patel and the ball tampering row involving Virat Kohli.
Captain Virat Kohli has been embroiled in a ball-tampering controversy, with a British tabloid carrying snapshots from the match footage, claiming that the 28-year old had applied a foreign substance on the ball during the first Test at Rajkot.
Kumble was quick to brush aside the allegations, saying that they are “creating a mountain out of a molehill. There’s nothing in it.”
Recently, South African captain Faf du Plessis was involved in a similar controversy, and had to part with his full match fees after he allegedly tampered with the ball during the Hobart Test against Australia.
The third Test between India and England will be played at Mohali, a surface that has a reputation of being one that aids fast bowlers. Kumble, however, clarified that the current pitch isn’t the same as it used to be, especially from those two decades back.
“The Mohali track has gone a lot slower, compared to what it was in the 90s,” Kumble added.
The pitch might not be as conducive to the pacers as it used to be, but Kumble has full faith in the current Indian bowling line-up, who, he believes, have performed well in their home territory.
“The bowlers have been brilliant, considering that that they’ve bowled 200 or more overs in both Tests.”
The selectors sprung a major surprise by inducting Parthiv Patel in the squad after first-choice keeper Wriddhiman Saha was ruled out of the third Test with a thigh strain. Kumble, who was in the squad when Patel made his Test debut in 2002, and the captain when he last played a Test in 2008, showed confidence in the 31-year-old stumper.
“Parthiv is a consistent keeper and batsman. He has been picked for his experience and keeping. We wanted the experience.”
Rishabh Pant, the 19-year-old keeper-batsman from Delhi, has been creating ripples in the domestic circles with his aggressive strokeplay. He blasted the fastest ever century in Ranji Trophy, days after he had helped himself to a triple century against Maharashtra at the Wankhede.
There has been a lot of hue and cry over whether Pant should have been preferred over Patel, who returns to Test whites after an eight-year hiatus. Kumble was quick to acknowledge that Pant has been in fine form, but Patel had the edge because of his experience.
“Rishabh Pant has shown what a youngster can bring in his batting skills. He has been doing brilliantly, but Parthiv was picked for his experience and keeping,” Kumble said.
Talking about another potential candidate, Tamil Nadu’s Dinesh Karthik, Kumble said he wasn’t considered because he is currently not keeping wickets.
”Currently, Dinesh Karthik is not keeping wickets for Tamil Nadu. Not sure why that is the case. Hence this decision.”
Kumble also praised teenage England youngster Haseeb Hameed, who opened the batting with captain Alastair Cook, and has impressed one and all with his assured strokeplay and unflappable temperament.
“Haseeb has done really well for a 19-year-old debutant,” Kumble said.
The third Test between India and England, to be played at the Punjab Cricket Association Stadium, Mohali, starts on 26th November.