England vs India: Bhuvneshwar Kumar’s injury turns focus on Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal
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England vs India: Bhuvneshwar Kumar’s injury turns focus on Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal

With Bhuvneshwar Kumar doubtful due to a stiff back, all eyes will be on wrist spinners Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal when India face England in the first ODI at Trent Bridge on Thursday.

cricket Updated: Jul 11, 2018 20:26 IST
Sanjjeev K Samyal
Sanjjeev K Samyal
Hindustan Times, Nottingham
England vs India,India vs England,Bhuvneshwar Kumar
India’s Bhuvneshwar Kumar, who missed the third T20 against England at Bristol due to a stiff back, remains in doubt for the first ODI at Trent Bridge. (REUTERS)

The onus will be on India’s two wrist spinners to help make a winning start in the one-day series against England as ace new-ball bowler Bhuvneshwar Kumar remained a doubt for Wednesday’s game at Trent Bridge. (ENGLAND vs INDIA FULL COVERAGE)

“Bhuvneshwar has come here to train. He is going to try and bowl and see how he feels. He looks fine to me as of now. Hopefully, he will be ready to take the field tomorrow,” said opener Rohit Sharma ahead of practice on the eve of the series opener.

Bhuvneshwar missed the third T20 game at Bristol due to a stiff back. Even though he did light jogging, he was not seen bowling in the nets on Tuesday. Apart from the experienced Umesh Yadav, India have Hardik Pandya, Siddarth Kaul and Shardul Thakur as pace options.

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Spin sensation Kuldeep, however, should be back in the mix after sitting out the final T20 and Rohit was confident the wrist spinners would work their magic in the middle overs.

“Kuldeep is an attacking option wherever he plays. He gives us that option in this format. He will be bowling 10 overs, hopefully he can extract turn and bounce, which he did in South Africa. We know the middle overs are crucial where the opposition go in terms of scoring runs. It is important to apply the brakes. These two guys, Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep, will be very important to give us wicket-taking options in the middle.”

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Both teams are looking at the three ODIs as preparation for next year’s World Cup. Rohit said it will India an idea where they stand.

“Since the World Cup is going to be played in this part of the world, in terms of preparation it is going to be important for us... where we stand as a team in terms of our combination and what sort of targets are going to be available for us.”

One area of interest in India’s batting line-up is where Virat Kohli bats. The India captain is looking at KL Rahul as No 3.

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“Speaking of Rahul batting at 3 or 4, I don’t know where he’ll bat in ODIs. Certainly he’s been in great form. We’ve got to see tomorrow (on Thursday). It’ll be at 3 or 4. I don’t know where the captain wants to bat, that’ll be the most important question.”

The last time England played at Trent Bridge, against Australia, they improved on their own world ODI total by amassing 481.

That raises high expectations of another run feast. Whoever wins the toss will prefer to chase, said Rohit. “When you are playing on pitches like that, you like to chase, preferably. This team prefers to chase.

“But the toss is not in your control and if you bat first, you don’t go out looking at scoring 400 runs, you bat normally, see how it goes, and see where you are after 30 overs and analyse thereafter,” he added.

First Published: Jul 11, 2018 20:26 IST