“Anything below 30 percent precipitation is good for us,” grinned a Nottingham native on Thursday as steady morning rain stopped to allow the Indian cricket team to start its first training session since the Lord’s Test defeat promptly.
Young Rishabh Pant had a fairly long stint with his keeping gloves on, which made it almost certain that the 20-year-old will replace struggling Dinesh Karthik behind the stumps for the third Test, starting at Trent Bridge on Saturday.
There was Jasprit Bumrah as well. A left thumb fracture in the first T20 against Ireland at the start of the tour had ruled him out of action until now, but the pacer who made an impressive debut in South Africa with 14 wickets in three Tests, bowled close to full pace in the session held under grey skies.
He still wore protection for his healing thumb, and it remains to be seen if the India team management picks Bumrah.
Umesh Yadav bowled at the nets, but having sat out the Lord’s Test, it remains to be seen if he returns in Trent Bridge.
India drew the Trent Bridge Test in 2014 with opener M Vijay scoring a century. However, the consensus is that the pitch, with a light coating of grass and an open stadium – only the stands on either side have something of a roof cover – would encourage more swing bowling.
KOHLI IN TRAINING
For India, the best news was Virat Kohli taking part in the training session after a stiff back during the Lord’s Test had raised concerns whether he will be fit for the Trent Bridge game.
The India skipper first tested his bats by receiving throw downs and then had a brief batting session, standing outside the crease as he has to counter swing bowling.
Kohli also took part in a slip catching session, though he kept feeling his back at times. Cloudy weather is forecast in the next few days and that would mean India batsmen will have to get ready for more examination by swing master, James Anderson.
Trent Bridge is one of Anderson’s favourite venues. Out of nine Tests here, he has taken 60 wckets at an average of 18.95. His career average is 26.83. India have played six Tests at the venue, winning one (2007), losing two with three drawn.
Indian batsmen barring Kohli in the first Test have not looked like they can handle swing bowling. If the first Test at Edgbaston was a close affair – England won by 31 runs – Lord’s proved a huge mismatch with Kohli suffering his first innings defeat as skipper (innings and 159 runs).
The Indian team members observed a minute’s silence before starting practice as a tribute to former India skipper Ajit Wadekar, who died in Mumbai on Wednesday.
First Published: Aug 16, 2018 18:39 IST