Team India’s bowling coach Bharat Arun has hinted that Cheteshwar Pujara, who missed out on a place in the starting XI for the Edgbaston Test, might come in for one of the top-order batsmen in a straight switch for the second Test against England at Lord’s. Speaking to media ahead of the game, Arun said that any decision would be made depending on the pitch. He added that playing an extra batsman would be a safe move, possibly opening the door for an extra spinner with Kuldeep Yadav eagerly waiting on the bench after a stunning limited-overs series against the hosts in which he was at times unplayable.
“Playing an extra batsman here I would consider a very conservative move, I think everything depends on the conditions and if the conditions are to gong to be as friendly as it was during the first Test, then it makes more sense to play five bowlers,” said Arun.
The former fast-bowler added that including Kuldeep in place of a fast-bowler would be a good but tough choice as all the bowlers have done extremely well in the last game. “I can’t ask for anything better. There is still room for improvement but I thought the bowlers did a good job and there was a huge improvement from the first innings to the second, and that’s extremely welcome,” he said.
However, a setback for India is that Jasprit Bumrah has been ruled out of the match which begins on August 9. “Jasprit Bumrah is bowling, fit, but I think it’s too early to put him into a game situation because he needs to come off the band-aid plaster on his hand and for the second Test, he is out of contention,” he said.
Arun defended the Indian batsmen and their tactic of standing outside the crease to negate swing in the second innings of the Edgbaston Test. “It is definitely a conscious call, they made the choice here and they did that in the practice games as well and they feel they have a lot more options than staying back in the crease. Also, you are cutting the amount of swing that the bowler would get by going closer to the ball,” he said.