Indian opener Murali Vijay will miss the second test against West Indies due to a thumb injury and will be replaced by Lokesh Rahul, skipper Virat Kohli said ahead of the match that begins at Kingston’s Sabina Park on Saturday.
Vijay was hit on the thumb by a Shannon Gabriel delivery in the first test at Antigua, which India won by an innings and 92 runs to go 1-0 up in the four-test series.
Rahul has two centuries from five tests and by partnering Shikhar Dhawan India will retain their right-left combination at the top of the order.
“Unfortunately Vijay has to miss out because of injury,” Kohli told reporters. “(Rahul’s) been in a very good zone. He scored runs in the practice games ... It’s more a case of a guy waiting for an opportunity. You can see that with him.
“He’s batting really well, he wants to make it count. He wants to get big runs. I’m pretty confident of his abilities.”
Rahul, who also keeps wicket, struck his maiden test century against Australia at Sydney early last year, while his other hundred came in Sri Lanka in August.
“He’s pretty compact, he’s a solid opener, and he’s a great fielder as well. Gives you that wicketkeeping option as well, in case something happens to (Wriddhiman) Saha.”
With the green-tinged track at Sabina Park promising bounce and carry, Kohli hinted the visitors would stick to the five-bowler strategy which paid rich dividends in Antigua where they bowled out West Indies for sub-250 scores in both innings.
“When you win there’s not that much room for change unless the conditions are drastically different, which they are not,” said Kohli, who scored his maiden test double hundred in Antigua.
Kohli predicted the spinners would prove a handful at the “result-oriented ground”, especially in the second innings.
“There’s good bounce in this wicket ... So the spinner can’t be left out of the game. There is a second innings as well, we need to understand that.
“It’s not overcast conditions and a green pitch where you will compromise on one spinner. You know that when the wicket dries up it will start turning and there is good bounce so the spinners will come into play.”