Ahead of the second Test against Australia in Perth, legendary India spinner Anil Kumble has said that Virat Kohli and company will have to show a lot more discipline with the bat if they are to take an unassailable 2-0 lead in the four-match series.
Speaking to Cricketnext, Kumble stressed on Indian batters’ casual approach in the first innings of the opening Test at the Adelaide Oval. The visitors were reduced to 41/4 in Adelaide before Cheteshwar Pujara bailed the team out of trouble with a magnificent 123.
"Whether you win the toss and bat first or bowl first, you have to do your disciplines right. I think India got it right in terms of the bowling department. One thing that they have to really iron out is their batting in the first innings. I think there were too many loose shots too early at the start of the Test series and start of a session,” Kumble quoted.
"I mean, you don't play those kinds of shots on Day 1 of a Test series when you have the opportunity to grab it with both hands and similarly, in the second innings, they will be disappointed that they missed out with their bottom five batsmen throwing their wickets around to get some quick runs," he added.
Although Indian bowlers managed to pick up the 20 Australian wickets in Adelaide, they once again struggled to dismiss the tail-enders. When asked about India’s inability to polish off the tail, Kumble advised the bowlers to treat their opposition counterparts as proper batsmen.
"I think they try too many things. As soon as you see a lower order batsman, you start to think that I have to get him out in these six balls. It doesn't happen that way. You still have to restrict them. You still have to entice them.
"Everyone works on their batting, so it's not easy to just come in and run through the lower order anymore but that's why I am saying, you need to treat them as top order batsmen and then bowl accordingly," said Kumble.
While Pujara was the standout performer in the first innings, Ajinkya Rahane chipped in with a vital half-century in the second essay. Even though Indians have largely struggled with the bat in Adelaide, opener KL Rahul is among the batsmen on whom the spotlight has fallen for the wrong reasons.
Lifting the spirit of Rahul, Kumble said the team management needs to back the young opener to revive his form in the five-day format.
"He hasn't had a consistent run in the international cricket. He hasn't been someone who has put in a score and then followed it up with another good score and that's something I am sure must be playing in his mind.
"What will help is to go and settle his nerves, say you are going to play the next three Tests and I don't know if that has happened. It's something that always plays on the young player. Yes, he has already played 30-plus Test matches and isn't a youngster anymore, but at the same time it's important that someone like Rahul needs that assurance..." Kumble concluded.