Port of Spain: The condition in St Kitts was hot and humid, just like home. And the wickets offered slowly turn and bounce, which made India’s spin trio to dream of rewards. And so their effort yielded 12 wickets (for spinners) in the 3-day warm up game. R Ashwin got three in each innings. The bowlers are intrigued by what could be on offer for them in the first Test in Antigua.
Ravindra Jadeja, who finished with figures of 4/58, says, “(It) feels good to be back in Test mode. It is important to be fit and have the stamina to bowl 15-20 overs a day. I did not experiment much during the warm-up tie. There was slow turn and bounce available (in St. Kitts). I tried bowling the right line and was getting help from the wicket too.”
Jadeja, with Ashwin and Mishra, will be expected to power India’s bowling. They have not just extracted juice from the wicket but have also dug into Anil Kumble’s experiences. They believe that’ll make a huge difference to the bowling group.
Jadeja says, “He (Anil Kumble) can tell us about his experiences. He has been a great bowler for India because he has done very well both in Tests and ODIs. When we speak to him in the dressing room, he tells us about his experiences. Even Ashwin gives me tips. But it is a big thing for us to have someone like Anil Kumble in the dressing room.”
However, on the field, their preparations will count. So far the spinners have lived up to the expectations of the team, picking 12 of the 16 wickets in the last practice game. However the fast bowlers are yet to prove their mettle on the flat tracks of West Indies.
Yet they enjoy the support of the team-mates, “If there is turn and bounce, we have Mishra, Jadeja and Ashwin. They have been in good form in Tests of late. We shall be happy to get turning wickets but we have the firepower in our fast bowling as well. All of them are doing well. They have increased their pace and fitness levels,” says KL Rahul.
Taking 20 wickets will be the key to winning the series in the Caribbean. And this new Indian Team under Virat Kohli wants to prove that they aren’t just tough competitors at home but equally potent in foreign conditions too.