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EXCLUSIVE - Would Prefer Ashwin Over Pant at No.6: Anil Kumble

Cricketnext Staff | December 21, 2018, 5:06 PM IST

Gaurav Kalra: We've got the privilege of having Anil here, who has worked as captain, senior player as well as coach of the team. So, let's get him on the spot a little bit. Six batsmen or five, that's going to be another question that will be asked a lot. Now, if you're putting the 11 together then would you play five front-line bowlers, knowing that Hardik Pandya isn't available?

Anil Kumble: That's a big blow, if you had Hardik Pandya in the team then he gives you the cushion of being the fifth bowler, gives you 10-15 overs, possibly a couple of wickets. So that's the advantage of a Hardik Pandya. He can bat at seven and give you runs as well, so that's the disadvantage that India is going with. But if you look at Adelaide. I mean we're sitting here and talking about the pitch but generally if you look at the history of Adelaide, the wicket has always been good. You would want two spinners to play. Ideally, I would want five bowlers because in Adelaide you should be able to depend on your lower order to contribute at least 100-150 runs. From your seven, eight, nine, ten, eleven; should be able to get 100-150 runs. So, the top order becomes critical as well. If you can score 350 runs and have five bowlers in your team then I think India has the upper hand. So, that's the decision that the team management will have to make, whether you want to go with four bowlers because you're looking at the bowling attack which probably is the best bowling attack. Their batting isn't necessarily great. So, if you're looking at that and you want to make sure that the batting is stronger to negate the bowling, then that to me seems like a little bit of a negative thought if you're thinking on those lines. Or you'd want to go one up in the first Test and you really attack Australia with two spinners.

Gaurav Kalra: When you look at someone like a Rishabh Pant, when India do play with five bowlers, he becomes India's number six batsman. He's got a good start to Test cricket, a hundred in England, he's made runs against the West Indies at home. But do you see him as a number six in Australia?

Anil Kumble: No, that's why I thought when Ashwin moved up the batting order to number six, India should've persisted with that. I certainly believe that Ashwin is someone who can contribute at that position, especially when India travel abroad. Even in the last series, Ashwin batted really well, he's done well overseas. He has the temperament and also the technique. He just needs to be in that position for a longer period of time. I believe he's someone who can bat the second new ball and also play that role of number six, then probably Rishabh can bat at seven then bat really well with the tail, which then gives him the freedom to go and play his natural game rather than put pressure on someone like Rishabh Pant at number six.

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2 India 7071 122
3 New Zealand 4837 112
4 Australia 5543 111
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