“Our bowler can take 20 wickets, but Ishant missed,” said Rahane.

Story highlights

  • Staying for the day-night test does not respond to team composition
  • “The team will be decided on the day before the match,” he said
  • The first Test of the series against Australia from 17 December

Indian vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane on Tuesday admitted that his team would lose to fast bowler Ishant Sharma, but did not answer questions from the team’s associations in the day-night Test against Australia starting on Thursday.

After captain Virat Kohli returns home on paternity leave after the first Test, the captaincy is almost certain to remain in the remaining three Tests. He also spoke on the challenge facing the bowlers with the fast pace of the pink ball.

“We have been hit hard, but we will miss Ishant,” Rahane told a virtual press conference. He is the senior fastest bowler. Ishant Bargadi was injured during the IPL.

Rahane is confident that pacers led by Jaspreet Bumrah and Mohammad Shami will do well in Ishant’s absence. He said, ‘Umesh, Saini, Siraj, Bumrah and Shami are all good bowlers and they have experience too. They know how to bowl here.

He said, ‘This is a new series and will start with the Pink Ball. Getting rhythm is important. I believe our bowlers can take 20 wickets.

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Asked about the opening pair, Rahane said it would be decided on the day before the match. India have options for Mayank Agarwal, Prithvi Shaw, Shubhaman Gill and KL Rahul. Also for wicketkeeping are Shabha Pant and Diddhiman Saha.

Rahane said, ‘No decision has been taken yet on team composition. We will have a meeting on Wednesday and then another day and practice session. It will be discussed later. Everyone is equally smart and we all have the ability to win all the matches. It’s a matter of trusting the players.

He also did not give a definite answer as to what the role of senior spinner R Ashwin will be, but said that his all-round skills will be used in the first Test.

He said, ‘Ashwin’s role is very important. He is an experienced bowler and has variety. His role as a bowler and batsman is very important.

On a test day with a pink ball, the session is very important and a lot of preparation is being done on it. Rahane said that in those 40 to 50 minutes the speed of the ball becomes very fast. He said, ‘The speed of the new pink ball becomes very fast at sunset. In such a situation it is difficult for the batsmen to focus.

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