India coach Anil Kumble has expressed concern over injuries dogging the openers, but is happy that the team has done well under the circumstances. The former India captain also backed Murali Vijay, describing the Tamil Nadu cricketer as the “most consistent batsman” in the last two years.
India has fielded five different openers against West Indies, New Zealand and England with KL Rahul, Shikhar Dhawan and Gautam Gambhir in and out, while wicket keeper Parthiv Patel was used as a makeshift opener in the third Test against England after Rahul sat out with an injury.
“Ideally yes, you would want a settled opening pair, but I think under the circumstances we have done really well,” Kumble told reporters ahead of the fourth Test against England starting in Mumbai on Dec 8.
“The injuries are not in our control; injuries are part and parcel of the game. Unfortunately, Rahul got hit while he was fielding in Visakhapatnam and that is how he got the injury. Parthiv came in the last game and did a fantastic job at the top. I am sure Rahul will have a hit today and he will be fine; let’s see how it goes.
“For New Zealand, we had three different opening pairs, even in the West Indies we had an injury to Vijay and then Shikhar got injured against New Zealand. Then Gautam had that freak injury in Indore, but he could bat. So I think there is something happening with the openers in terms of injury, I hope that doesn’t go on. There has to be some stop at some stage.”
Vijay scored a hundred in the opening Test against England in Rajkot but hit a lean patch thereafter with scores of 31, 20, 3, 12 and 0 in his last five innings.
“Vijay has been the most consistent batsman over the last couple of years. He started off the series very well with a hundred in Rajkot and he has got out to similar kind of deliveries (short) which is something probably you can pinpoint as his weakness. But I don’t think that’s fair. He is someone who we certainly believe will come up with a big score. So we certainly believe that it is just round the corner,’’ Kumble said.