India vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane did not disclose the potential of a five-match Test series against England starting on August 4, but suggested that paceman Shirdul Thakur could use his batting ability to bring down the order. When Rahane was asked who was the best batsman of the Indian bowlers who could replace Hardik Pandya, he took the name of Mumbai player Shraddul. He took seven wickets, including a half-century, in the Brisbane Test in Australia.
Rahane said everyone is a different kind of player. What Hordic did in 2018 was different for us. Shardul can bat. You have seen him bat in Australia and he has done well in domestic cricket. Shardul has scored seven fifties in first class cricket with an average of 16.58. Rahane said, “(Jaspreet) Bumrah, (Mohammed) Shami, (Mohammed) Siraj, Umesh (Yadav) and Ishant (Sharma) are practicing in net session. It is important that we score 20-30 at the end of the innings.
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“It is good that they want to bat for at least 10-12 minutes in a net session. The result is visible. Now it is important to work hard in the process and contribute as a team member. We are expecting some contribution from our tail batsmen. Responding to a question of intent, he pointed to Cheteshwar Pujara and said that when there is no message from the team management, everyone should continue to play in their style.
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“Obviously, we sit down and discuss our batting plans, but this is a challenging situation for a batsman in England,” he said. Everyone has different plans and everyone should support their (game) style. Rahane said his team is fully aware that there are grass pitches in England and Indian players have to deal with conditions that are appropriate for fast bowlers. He said, ‘We think we get such a wicket in England. This is their home match and we are not thinking much about it. We are not worried about the pitch.