Rohit Sharma discusses selection headache ahead of Hyderabad Test

Hyderabad, Jan 24 (UNI) Team India captain Rohit Sharma was forthright about India’s selection headache for the first Test of the ICC World Test Championship series between India and England that begins here from Thursday.

With Virat Kohli absent due to personal reasons and KL Rahul ruled out as a wicketkeeping option by head coach Rahul Dravid, India have a few selection calls to make.

There’s also the question on whether India would play a third spinner, and if so who that would be.

Speaking on the choice of third spinner, Rohit highlighted the skills that Axar Patel and Kuldeep Yadav bring to the table, but did not reveal who India had pencilled in on to complement Ravindra Jadeja and Ravichandran Ashwin.

“It was a bit of a headache to decide who it would be,” Rohit said.

“I am not going to say who it is, and it was a challenge for us to decide as to who it is. Kuldeep gives you a certain X factor with his bowling especially if the wicket gives bounce or not he still becomes a factor because he has got superb variations and he is a very mature bowler now,” he said.

“He has not played much cricket in India because of Ashwin and Jadeja and that’s what has even happened in the past also,” Rohit said.

“Lot of us got our chances late but that’s how it is and that’s the reality it is, and you can’t hide away from it. Kuldeep is a much better bowler, and it’s a very tempting option. Axar with his all-round ability, gives us the batting depth and the consistency he has shown. We have quality around our spin bowling department and it’s a good headache,” he said.

The other question is about who keeps wickets with both KS Bharat and Dhruv Jurel in the squad. India could have gone for Rahul, who kept wickets in South Africa, and played an extra batter, possibly Rajat Patidar, who was a late addition as Kohli’s replacement.

But Dravid struck off this possibility stating that the load would be too much for Rahul in these conditions.

“We will see and assess their (Jurel and Bharat) performances,” Rohit said without revealing who would slot into the XI for the Hyderabad Test.

“We are looking at the bigger picture, and we will give as many games as possible to the individual. Whatever is right for the team, we will do that,” he said.

Speaking of Patidar, Rohit said that India had initially thought about adding a senior player, but went with a younger uncapped player instead to give them time to get accustomed to international cricket with a home series, rather than an away one.

“We did actually think about it (picking a senior player) but all these younger players, when are they going to get their opportunity?,” Rohit commented, adding that it wasn’t easy to leave out an experienced player.

“You need to bring certain players into your set-up and give them favourable conditions. You don’t want to expose them on foreign tours where they have not played before. That’s the thought behind all of that,” he added.

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