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Other SportsIndia captain Sharma not interested in 'Bazball' talk

India captain Sharma not interested in ‘Bazball’ talk

India will not be distracted by the relentless talk of ‘Bazball’ when the Test series against England starts tomorrow, according to captain Rohit Sharma.

England, as they often do, have talked up their all-out attacking approach, led by coach Brendon McCullum and captain Ben Stokes, but Sharma says India won’t get caught up in trying to copy the tourists and will instead play their own brand of cricket.

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He said: “We look to play our cricket, and I am not interested in looking at how the opposition is going to play. It’s important that we look into our cricket, focus on what we need to do as a team, and take it from there.

“You need to have a game plan, and you need to back your game plan. Whether tight defence, sweep, reverse sweep whatever it is just be clear. Don’t be in two minds, as that is where you can get yourself in trouble and then understand your own strengths. 

“We have grown up playing in these conditions, and it is all about handling the pressure of playing a Test match. We all play Ranji Trophy, Duleep Trophy, Irani Trophy but the pressure of playing a Test match is different.”

England announced their XI today and sprung a surprise by naming three frontline spinners with Tom Hartley included at the expense of veteran paceman Jimmy Anderson.

India are likely to replicate that approach with certain starters Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja to be backed up by either Kuldeep Yadav or Axar Patel.

Sharma knows who will play but was not willing to reveal his choice.

“It was a bit of a headache to decide who it would be,” he added. 

“I am not going to say who it is, and it was a challenge for us to decide as to who it is. Kuldeep gives you a certain X factor with his bowling especially if the wicket gives bounce or not he still becomes a factor because he has got superb variations and he is a very mature bowler now. He has not played much cricket in India because of Ashwin and Jadeja and that’s what has even happened in the past also.

“Lot of us got our chances late but that’s how it is and that’s the reality it is, and you can’t hide away from it. Kuldeep is a much better bowler, and it’s a very tempting option. Axar with his all-round ability, gives us the batting depth and the consistency he has shown. We have quality around our spin bowling department and it’s a good headache.”

Rajat Patidar has been added to the India squad as the replacement for Virat Kohli, who will miss the first two Tests due to a personal matter.

India were expected to recall the more experienced Cheteshwar Pujara but Sharma was eager to give youth a chance.

He said: “We did actually think about it [picking Pujara] but all these younger players, when are they going to get their opportunity? That’s something we thought about as well. 

“Leaving out an experienced player and not considering them is very hard because of the amount of runs they have scored and the kind of experience they have had, and the number of games they have won for us. It is very hard to ignore all of that. But you need to bring certain players into your set-up and give them favourable conditions. You don’t want to expose them on foreign tours where they have not played before.”

Jon Fisher
Jon Fisher
Jon has over 20 years' experience in sports journalism having worked at the Press Association, Goal and Stats Perform, covering three World Cups, an Olympics and numerous other major sporting events.
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