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March 14, 2014
Anil Kumble has said India must choose their best bowling combination in away Tests even if that means including two spinners in the line-up. In the four Tests India played in South Africa and New Zealand, India went with only one spinner in each Test, with Ravindra Jadeja being preferred over R Ashwin in three of them.
"If your two spinners are among your best bowlers they should play, irrespective of the conditions," Kumble told the Hindu. "Do you change your batting line-up just because you are playing abroad? You expect your batsmen to adapt. It's the same with bowlers.
"You cannot go in with a pre-conceived notion that the spinners will only play a defensive role away from the sub-continent," he said. "For instance, you cannot expect Virender Sehwag to play differently whatever be the country. It depends on the kind of bowler you are."
Kumble also took a dig at India's tactics in the recent away Tests saying the players were not proactive on the field. "You cannot sit and wait for things to happen," he said. "In India, the two spinners will attack and pick wickets from either end. It doesn't happen that way abroad. You have to strategise.
"The batsmen play a lot of shots these days, even in Tests. Even a mid-on, a midwicket or a cover becomes a catching position. But you need to have a plan."
VVS Laxman, however, spoke out in support of the seamers, who he thought bowled well in the Tests, but said that as a unit, the bowlers needed to develop skills with the Kookaburra ball.
"We need bowlers who can swing the ball at a telling pace to strike when the pitch flattens," Laxman said. "The Kookaburra ball does not swing after the first 30 overs or so and we need to maintain the ball.
"Often when we see big partnerships develop, we forget small things like maintaining the ball and retaining its shine for a longer period. It's not about reverse swing alone. It's also about conventional swing with the older ball."
Terming Ishant Sharma as the "most hard-working pacemen I have seen," Laxman said the bowler's wrist position, which has been frequently pointed as the reason for his lack of movement, was good in the Wellington Test.
"He was brilliant in New Zealand," Laxman said. "A lot has been said about his wrist position. But I thought his wrist position was upright and exemplary in the Wellington Test.
Laxman added that India's seamers also needed to work harder to improve their ability to bowl at the death in the limited-overs matches. "Yorker is all about practice," he said. "Mohammed Shami and Bhuvneshwar Kumar have useful yorkers but they should work more on their control. It's not an easy delivery to bowl and execution is important.
"He [Ishant] never had a good yorker. His strengths as a bowler are his bounce and seam movement."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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