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India likely to play as many all-rounders as possible

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Chennai, Feb 4 (IANS) India are likely to play as many all-rounders as possible in the first Test against England here on a wicket that has been described as a “good batting wicket” by India captain Virat Kohli and “not the prettiest” by England captain Joe Root.

India have four players who can be qualified as all-rounders. Hardik Pandya, Washington Sundar, R Ashwin, and Axar Patel can both bat and bowl.

“We will try to give ourselves as many bowling options as possible along with the guys having the ability to contribute with the bat,” said India skipper Virat Kohli on Thursday.

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“That has been the pattern for success for us in home conditions in the last few years and that continues to be the case this time around as well. The pitch is a nice normal Chepauk pitch. Quite a nice batting track with assistance for spinners. But the track is good enough for fast bowlers to stay in the game. So, it is generally a good cricketing wicket,” he said.

The India skipper further said that the match will last the distance like the last time England toured India in 2016-17.

“Something we saw in the last series against England, the pitches were quite good. And they were good for cricket also. The matches weren’t won inside three or two days, they went the distance most of the times. It was a hard grind…guys who can bat and bowl as well is something that is going to be at the forefront of our plans,” said Kohli.

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England skipper Root said that going in with an open mind and adapting will be key for his side.

“Have not been able to get too close to the wicket. It is not the prettiest wicket I have ever seen. History would suggest that it will be a good wicket for the majority of the game. Spin will come into it. But there hasn’t been huge amount of cricket over the last four-five years or even first-class cricket the last year-and-a-half. I think it is important we go into the game with an open mind and play what is right for others. That is going to be key. Make sure that we adapt to what we see when that first ball comes down on Friday.”

–IANS

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kh/qma

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