Unlike in the first three Tests, India will not announce their playing XI for the fourth game a day earlier as they are still monitoring fitness of some of their players. India’s batting coach Vikram Rathour confirmed that the team has a lot of injury concerns, which means the playing XI will be known only on the day of the Test in Brisbane.
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“Injuries are being monitored. I’m not in a position to comment. Will give them as much time as we can, we’ll know tomorrow morning,” Rathour said in the pre-match press conference.
Rathour was asked if there was a possibility of Rishabh Pant play as a pure batsman. He was also asked about Jasprit Bumrah’s fitness and if India will stick to five bowlers, but his answers remained the same.
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“There’s still a lot of injury concerns, they’re still being monitored. If Bumrah is fit, he plays, if he is not fit, he doesn’t play. All these questions can be answered only tomorrow morning.”
India are grappling with injuries to key players. Ravindra Jadeja has been ruled out, while Hanuma Vihari has a grade 2 hamstring tear. Bumrah has an abdomen injury while Pant was hit on the elbow while batting in the first innings in Sydney. Pant did return to bat in the second innings and made a key 97 as India drew the game to keep the series 1-1. Ashwin too has issues with his back.
Apart from injuries, India have also been surrounded by off-field issues. They have reportedly been unhappy about lack of facilities and housekeeping in the team hotel in Brisbane due to COVID regulations, but Rathour said that would not be a factor on the ground.
“We are playing Australia in Australia, so the motivation is there. You don’t need housekeeping to motivate yourself,” he said.
Rathour hailed India’s mental toughness in the tour, but said he doesn’t believe either team has ‘momentum’.
“Toughness comes from the preparation. The boys have been working hard, they have a lot of belief in their abilities. Even after Sydney Test, the coaching staff kept telling the players to keep preparing. They’ve shown character to come back in this tour,” he said.
“I don’t believe in momentum. After 36 all out, to come back and win the next game – that tells about momentum. We’ll put up the best 11 on the ground, all of them deserve to be there. We are backing our processes and players. If we play to potential, we’ll do well. This being a wicket where there’s more bounce and pace, having played well for so many days now, there is belief that the boys will handle it well.”
While India have impressed in the last two Tests, the technique of some of their younger batsmen like Prithvi Shaw and Mayank Agarwal has come under the scanner. Rathour said technique wasn’t the only important thing in international cricket.
“Anything can be rectified. Also depends on how much importance we give to technique in international cricket. Technique is important, but it’s about your decision making, your character, it’s about all these things combined. The boys are committed, everyone will have some good and bad tours. The boys are doing hardwork and they’ll perform better,” he said.
Rathour also added that there was nothing much India can do about regular run outs.
“We had three run outs (first innings in Sydney), it was a concern. I would say it was because if pressure of not getting runs and good fielding efforts. You can’t really work on anything at this stage, hopefully we can get better in the next game.”