Debasis Sen, London: India is getting ready to face England in the second which is set to begin form Thursday at Lords. Though the Men in Blue lost the first test at Edgbaston by 31 runs but former India skipper Sourav Ganguly feels that Virat Kohli & co will make comeback at the home of cricket. In an exclusive interview with www.xtratime.in Sourav has opened up about India’s chances in the series, Virat’s batting and other things. Here are the excerpts:
XT: Talking about the Lords test match how do you see this match shaping up with India going 0-1 down in the series at Edgbaston?
Sourav: Yes it’s a big test for them and it’s a five-match test series. The second test is very important and they will play well. I think they are a very good side and when you play a five-match Test series you win some, you lose some and I think India will comeback.
XT: A lot has been said about the Indian batting order except skipper Virat Kohli who scored almost 200 runs in the last test match. Talking about the other batsmen, are they facing problems while batting on the seaming conditions?
Sourav: They will be fine. You should remember they have got runs in these conditions. Ajinkya Rahane, Murali Vijay had played in England before. It’s just one test that they have missed. They are good enough and I think they will comeback well. It’s a five-match test series which is a long series and India will be back.
XT: In an interview you already told that you don’t want much change in the playing XI. But why?
Sourav: I think consistency in selection is important. It’s important that the players feel secure and feel good about themselves and I am sure Virat Kohli will do that. He is an experienced captain now, he is himself doing very well as a batsman and hopefully he should be fine.
XT: With the conditions likely to be hot and dry for next 5 days. There is some rain forecast as well. Do you want to see an extra spinner in the side for the second test?
Sourav: Yes I would be surprised if India doesn’t play an extra spinner. Its overcast today, the temperature will go down. So I think this pitch will turn and as the grounds men has said a second spinner would be a good addition to the side.
XT: Someone just the likes of Cheteshwar Pujara will add to the strength of Indian batting order?
Sourav: I think all the batsmen are good. They are very good players and I am pretty sure that they will fire. As I said a bit of consistency will be good for the team and hopefully the same guys will see you through.
XT: Talking about Virat Kohli, obviously he has made some minor adjustments standing outside the crease and also playing it late. So what are the things that the batsmen should follow to succeed in these conditions?
Sourav: The batsmen got to be patience in these conditions and leave deliveries outside the off-stump which is very important. Knowing where is your off-stump is very important when you are playing a test match in England. They have to be a little bit careful about driving on the up because the ball will swing and England have got some good bowlers in the squad who can swing the ball. As I said Rahane and Vijay have got runs in these conditions before and I am sure that they will adjust.
XT: Talking about Virat’s innings in the last match what was special there in Virat’s knock according to you at Edgbaston?
Sourav: It’s just the technique you know. At one stage the English fielders dropped him but he made full use of it. He struggled to James Anderson earlier in his innings but still didn’t give it away which is I think everyone should learn. His determination, application is very good.
XT: Will it be a blow for England as their star all-rounder Ben Stokes will not be a part of the Lords test?
Sourav: It will be a blow for them because he bowled well against India in the last game but I think Chris Woakes is a very good bowler in these conditions. The ball will swing and he has comeback fully fit. So I think they have replaced man to man which I think is a very good selection.
XT: England has made a surprise inclusion in picking Ollie Pop because he is only 20 years of age and he has already been tipped who has a very bright future. Your thoughts on it?
Sourav: Yeah why not? Put young players in the fray. You saw what Sam Curran did in the last game and I am sure he will stand up to the demands of test cricket. And what a venue he has got for his debut and I think hopefully he would have a good game as well.
XT: What’s the prediction of the series by Sourav Ganguly?
Sourav: It’s still open. Four test matches are a lot and I don’t see any reason why India can’t make a comeback.
XT: And last what will be key for India to win the test match here at Lords?
Sourav: I said it at the start of the series. At least 350 or 400 in the first innings will be important.