ICL: Indian Cricket League

India sweat over Kumble fitness ahead of South Africa Test


kumbleInjury-hit India are sweating over the fitness of skipper Anil Kumble ahead of the second Test against South Africa starting on Thursday (today).

Experienced leg-spinner Kumble, the third highest wicket-taker in Test cricket, suffered a groin strain in the drawn first Test last week and did not take the field in the final two sessions.

“We just have to wait. We’ll take a final call tomorrow morning,” Kumble told a news conference on Wednesday when quizzed about his fitness.

India will definitely be without talismanic batsman Sachin Tendulkar because of a groin injury, while left-arm seamer Rudra Pratap Singh went wicket-less and looked way below his best on his return from injury.

The bowling department is worst hit as it remains unclear if pace prospect Ishant Sharma, who has been out of action with a foot injury since returning from Australia, will recover in time for the middle leg of the three-match series.

The hosts plan to promote Vangipurappu Laxman up the batting order to fill the void created by the absence of Tendulkar.

Laxman usually bats at number six but is likely to be pushed up to number four on a responsive Ahmedabad pitch as he is considered one of the team’s better players of fast bowling. “He will certainly come up the order,” Kumble said.

South Africa coach Mickey Arthur said on Tuesday the tourists may resort to fast, short-pitched bowling directed into the body to counter opener Virender Sehwag, who hit the fastest recorded triple century in the first Test.

“I think he’s (Sehwag) a good enough batsman to handle that,” Kumble said. “He scored 319 in the last innings and is capable of handling whatever comes his way.”

A decision on the Indian starting line-up had been delayed due to the injury concerns, Kumble said.

“But we have enough potential and quality to do the job. We have worked out some plans to ensure that we put pressure on the South Africans and get the right result,” he explained.

Mohammad Kaif was drafted into the squad after Tendulkar withdrew. The third and final Test will be played at Kanpur.

Source:Cricket News

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