Kumble hails Ajinkya Rahane’s contribution to the team

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Kumble hails Ajinkya Rahane’s contribution to the team

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SportsCafe Desk

02/08/2017

Anil Kumble has lauded the contribution of Ajinkya Rahane, who is returning from injury and a poor run for the one-off Test against Bangladesh, saying the team hasn’t forgotten his contribution. Coach Kumble also believes Baroda all-rounder Hardik Pandya has it in him to succeed in all formats.

Rahane sustained a finger injury in the third Test against England, which led to an extended run for Karun Nair in the middle-order. The Karnataka batsman smashed 303 not out in the final England Test in Chennai to stake a claim for a regular spot.

"We still haven't thought about the combination but it is nice that Karun took his opportunity and did what he did in Chennai. It is fantastic for a young cricketer to come in and score a triple-hundred. But we know what Ajinkya has done for this team," coach Kumble told a news conference in Hyderabad ahead of the Bangladesh Test starting on Feb 9.

"Ajinkya's performances have been phenomenal across conditions. It is nice that somebody who came in to replace Ajinkya because of the injury in Mumbai, took three or four innings and was able to score a three-hundred. It's nice to have to have that kind of contribution and that kind of ability from the youngsters."

The India coach also backed the opening combination of Murali Vijay and KL Rahul.

"I don't think the opening slot is a concern at all. Vijay and Rahul have played wonderfully well in the last series. It's just that you need a back-up. As far as we are concerned, openers have had [injury] issues, in the West Indies and in the home series as well. It's just a concern," said Kumble, a former captain.

"I don't think the opening slot is a concern at all. Vijay and Rahul have played wonderfully well in the last series. It's just that you need a back-up. As far as we are concerned, openers have had [injury] issues, in the West Indies and in the home series as well. It's just a concern," said Kumble, a former captain.

"Abhinav (Mukund) brings in not just the experience of playing at the international level but also lots of runs in the domestic season gone by. So he is in good form. And it's a reward for what he has been able to achieve in the domestic circuit."

Pandya, who has been consistent in limited-overs cricket, is yet to make his Test debut.

"We certainly want to keep Hardik in the mix," Kumble said. "He is someone who has the ability to become a good all-rounder even in the longer format. It's rare that you have someone who can run in and bowl at close to 140 kph and bat in the middle order.

"He hasn't been tested in the longer format. But we believe that if he is part of this mix. Whenever the opportunity comes, we will try him out. In the future, whenever we travel outside India, he will be someone we will probably look at."

Kumble said India won't take minnows Bangladesh lightly.

"Bangladesh have done really well against New Zealand in the recent past. We'd like to take every team the same way in terms of what they bring to the table. It's a very improved side. In New Zealand, although the results are different, but doing what they did... we certainly respect them. Bangladesh has some quality players, good all-rounders, so it's going to be an interesting contest.

"We have the ability to pick 20 wickets irrespective of who goes out there - fast bowlers or spinners. You spoke about spinners dominating against England, but then the fast bowlers' contribution you can't take away. It's a matter of getting the partnership right."

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