With Eye On WTC, Stand-In Skipper KL Rahul Says India Need To Be Aggressive

A spot in the World Test Championship final at stake, a depleted Indian team has no option but to play an aggressive brand of cricket against Bangladesh in the two-match series starting Wednesday, stand-in skipper KL Rahul said on Monday. The Indian team will be without three key players — Jasprit Bumrah, Ravindra Jadeja and regular skipper Rohit Sharma — due to injuries. Having already lost the ODI series, the Indian team will need to win its next six Test matches (two in Bangladesh and four vs Australia at home) to remain in contention for a top-two spot in the World Test Championship points table.

As of now, Indian team is placed fourth in the table with 52.08 percentage points while Australia (75 percentage points) and South Africa (60 percentage points) are placed first and second. Sri Lanka, with 64 percentage points, is third in the list.

“There is a Test championship (final) qualification so we will also have to be aggressive. We know where we stand and what we need to do to qualify for the final,” said Rahul during a media conference after the unveiling of the trophy.

“Each day, each session we will assess what is required for the team in that particular moment and give our best.” The season-ending World Test Championship will be held in June, 2023 at the Oval in London.

Flexibility in mindset is the order of the hour and a key recipe for success.

“We won’t go in with any set mindset. Yes, there is a certain history of a venue, you look at the numbers and take some pointers from that. At least for us we will go there and try to be aggressive and brave, try and get a result.

“The game is played over five days so it is important to break it down to smaller targets. In every session, the demands would be different but one thing is sure that you are going to see a lot of aggressive cricket from our side,” the skipper assured.

A lot of this talk of aggressive intent has come watching England team’s radically different ultra-aggressive approach, which has caught the imagination of cricket fans.

And skipper Rahul doesn’t think English style of batsmanship characterises “recklessness”.

“As cricketers, I don’t think it is reckless cricket. They have certain mindset, they thought about it, they back their players and the players are doing the job for the team, so it doesn’t matter how you have done it. Cricket is changing, there is no set way of how this game needs to be played,” the stylish opener said.

Rahul in fact immensely enjoyed England’s 2-0 series win in Pakistan with a Test match still to go.

“To watch these two matches between England and Pakistan has really been interesting. I am really enjoying watching Test cricket being played like that, a very fearless, taking the game on.

“But each team has its own way. All teams can learn a thing or two from the teams that are doing well. You can’t always have the same approach. You turn up according to the conditions,” he said, providing his take on English approach.

“Hope Rohit can recover and play 2nd Test”

Skipper Rohit Sharma has now missed back-to-back Test matches — one vs England in July due to COVID-19 and now against Bangladesh due to left thumb dislocation and split webbing.

“Rohit is an important player for us. He is an experienced player and captain of our team. He is someone that the team will really miss but we hope he can recover quickly and comeback for the second Test,” Rahul said.

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