Cuttack: A bereaved Anil Kumble has opted out, and now it is a toss-up between Sairaj Bahutule and Murali Kartik for that berth in the tri-series tie vs New Zealand at the Barabati here Thursday. However, the news was received with “shock”, as Indian team coach John Wright said.
“Our deepest sympathies are with his immediate family,” he said, as the players arrived here from Bhubaneswar for nets this afternoon. “It would probably provide Kartik an opportunity to play,” hinted Wright.
“He did a very good job against the West Indies last time and he has always done well when given a chance.”
Asked whether pacer Ashish Nehra, back in the squad after a long injury-related lay-off, would play, the coach said he was bowling well at nets and is in contention for a berth. “It’s good to have him back in the squad,” he said.
The team would try to improve in all areas, Wright and would concentrate on conceding less runs in the first 15 overs. “If we play to our potential we’ll be very competitive,” he said.
Asked to comment on the batting of opener Virender Sehwag and Mohammed Kaif, the coach brushed aside their recent failures saying Sehwag is a matchwinner on his day while Kaif had played only one innings in the current series.
New Zealand skip nets
Meanwhile, the security-conscious New Zealanders, who had asked the BCCI to put up nets for practice at the Brabourne Stadium, failed to turn there citing security arrangements. (PTI)