Patidar has done well over the years; doubt whether he will play tomorrow, says Anil Kumble

With Rajat Patidar being called up to India’s Test squad for the England series as a replacement for Virat Kohli, who has pulled out of the first two Tests against England for personal reasons, legendary leg-spinner Anil Kumble felt the right-handed batter’s call-up was a reward for him doing well over the years.

With Rajat Patidar being called up to India’s Test squad for the England series as a replacement for Virat Kohli, who has pulled out of the first two Tests against England for personal reasons, legendary leg-spinner Anil Kumble felt the right-handed batter’s call-up was a reward for him doing well over the years.

At the same time, he was unsure of Patidar being given a place in the playing eleven for the Hyderabad Test starting on Thursday. Patidar is coming to Hyderabad after making 151 off 158 balls in the first four-day match against England Lions at Ahmedabad, with the knock coming in an under-pressure situation in the first innings.

He also scored 111 in a two-day practice match against the same opposition. In first-class cricket, Patidar, 30, has amassed 4000 runs in 93 innings at an average of 45.97, with 12 centuries and 22 half-centuries, as a batter at number three and four for Madhya Pradesh, carving a reputation for making big runs on tough pitches coupled with solid temperament.

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Patidar had missed much of cricketing action in 2023 due to an Achilles injury needing surgery, but he eventually recovered to make his ODI debut against South Africa at Paarl last month. Now, he’s in the Test team and in Kumble’s opinion, might have to wait for his chance.

“He’s done well over the years and after missing the majority of cricket last year due to an injury, it is wonderful to see a youngster coming back. Even in that England Lions’ (four-day) game, when the team was in trouble, he came in and scored a brilliant hundred. He’s been rewarded by the selectors as a replacement (for Kohli). But I doubt whether he will play tomorrow.”

“My sense would be that Shreyas (Iyer) now the team management has clearly stated that (KL) Rahul will not be keeping wickets. So I am assuming that it’ll be Shreyas at number four, then number five would be KL Rahul, (at) number six (KS) Bharat and then the all-rounders. It would be the approach that I sense India would go with (in the first Test),” said Kumble, an expert with JioCinema and Sports18, in a virtual media interaction.

Under captain Ben Stokes and head coach Brendon McCullum, England have changed the syntax of their playing Test cricket, as seen from their scoring rate of 4.8 in the last 20 months. Kumble is keen to see how India will counter the attacking approach from England.

“We need to see if it’s going to be Bazball or Buzzball, as in the Hindi word (bus). We will have to wait and see, but I think the approach certainly needs to be countered. If the pitch is spin-friendly and will encounter surfaces like this, then they need to have that mindset coming into a game.”

“You can’t be looking to survive, but at the same time, you need a lot of balance in Indian conditions. You just can’t come in with an intent to hit boundaries; you also need a good defence. So it’s something England will need to watch out for.”

“It will be challenging and interesting to see what England batters bring. We know that they look to dominate the bowling irrespective of the conditions and put pressure on the bowlers. It will also be interesting to see how Indian bowlers respond to that kind of approach.”

England last won a Test series in India in 2012/13 season, by 2-1. After that, India won 4-0 and 3-1 over England in the 2016 and 2021 series respectively at home. Kumble, who picked 619 Test wickets, feels the Anthony de Mello Trophy for the 2024 series could be in India’s favour by 4-1.

“I’m not a guy with a crystal ball, but I can certainly see India winning the series. I am thinking all five (Test matches) would provide results because of the approach that these two teams have towards Test cricket. I certainly believe unless and until weather intervenes, I feel all five Test matches would have results. I would give one to England and four to India.”

(IANS)