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Murali Vijay-KL Rahul to open the innings in Mumbai Test, Mohammed Shami doubtful: Virat Kohli

India Today logo India Today 07-12-2016
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Indian skipper Virat Kohli on Wednesday put aside the confusion regarding the opening pair for the Mumbai Test, saying KL Rahul and Murali Vijay will open the innings in the fourth Test of the ongoing five-match series against England starting from tomorrow.

With Parthiv Patel being retained as the wicket-keeper for the Mumbai Test as Wriddhimann Saha is still recovering from injury, there were speculations that the 31-year-old might open the innings, especially after the Mohali game where he played exceedingly well.

Opening the batting for India, walking out to the middle with Vijay, Patel, who was recalled into the Test team after a gap of eight years made a classy 42 in the first innings and followed it up with a rapid-fire unbeaten 67 off 54 balls in the second and help his side win the match comfortably by eight wickets and take a 2-0 lead against the visitors.

© AP Photo

Addressing the media on the eve of the Mumbai Test, Kohli said, "Yes. They (Rahul and Vijay) are specialist openers. There's no question of them opening or not. They are not guys who have batted at different positions. They have opened for their states and for the country as well. So, they will be our specialist openers."

Rahul returns to the team after missing out on the third Test due to an injury he exaggerated at Visakhapatnam. He had earlier suffered a hamstring injury during the New Zealand series which forced him to miss the last two Tests of that series and the first Test of the England series.

© Reuters Image

The Mumbai Test will begin after an eight-day gap after the third Test and Kohli feels that this gap will benefit the team "We did not ask for the gap. It was a part of the schedule. We will make sure when we go there we also get eight-day gap after three Tests and a 25-day gap between ODIs and Test series," Kohli said.

"Seeing the long season ahead, it did us no harm. We certainly benefited from it. We will just visualise and come back even more fresh compared to the last two Test matches. So, it was a good thing to happen and we certainly benefited from it."

SHAMI DOUBTFUL

"We got to take a call on (Mohammed) Shami in the evening in terms of how he is feeling his knee. After the Mohali Test, I think, he felt a bit of soreness in his knee. So we need to take a collective call on that because he has had a history of knee surgery. We don't want to push a player to an extent where we lose him for the whole season. So we will take a call in the evening, as I said, as to how much rest he needs or if he can go tomorrow as well. There's still a bit of time to decide."

With an unassailable 2-0 lead after three Tests, the world No.1 team is brimming with confidence and they would like to regain the Anthony de Mello Trophy which they had lost to Alastair Cook's side back in 2012. In their last two Test meetings here at the Wankhede, England had prevailed over India and the 2012 Test match will always be remembered as one where maverick batsman Kevin Pietersen played perhaps one of the finest knocks by an overseas batsman on Indian soil.

Thus, tomorrow's match gives the hosts a chance to revenge for the two earlier defeats and also make the Chennai Test, scheduled to be held from December 16-20, inconsequential.

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