India need two spinners in their squad for overseas tours, says Anil Kumble

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Ravichandran Ashwin has only represented India in one of their last four Tests

Legendary India leg-spinner Anil Kumble has announced that the national team need to ensure they have at least two spinners in their squad for overseas tours, even if the conditions are more pace-friendly.

Kumble’s comments come after India only played one spinner in their Test losses to South Africa and New Zealand.

“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 noted that India were too passive in their recent Test series.

“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.”

Meanwhile, former India batting great VVS Laxman believes that the pace bowlers have to start getting used to bowling 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.”

Laxman also noted that pace bowler Ishant Sharma was the “most hard-working pacemen I have seen”.

“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 pace attack need to start bowling more yorkers.

“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.”

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