We have to play aggressive cricket to qualify for WTC Final: KL Rahul | Cricket News – Times of India

NEW DELHI: A depleted side at his disposal, India stand-in skipper KL Rahul on Monday said that the team needs to play aggressive cricket if they are to make it to the World Test Championship final next year.
India take on Bangladesh in the first of the two-Test series starting December 14 and will be without services of Rohit Sharma, Jasprit Bumrah, Ravindra Jadeja and Mohammed Shami, who are out with injuries.
India need to win their next six matches (two in Bangladesh and four vs Australia at home) to finish in top-two in the World Test Championship points table. The team is currently at the fourth spot behind Australia (75 percentage points), South Africa (60 percentage points) and Sri Lanka (64 percentage points).
“There is a Test championship (final) qualification so we will also have to be aggressive. We know where we stand and what we need to do to qualify for the final,” said Rahul during a media conference after the unveiling of the trophy.
“Each day, each session we will assess what is required for the team in that particular moment and give our best.”
The season-ending World Test Championship will be held in June, 2023 at the Oval in London.

The stand-in skipper Rahul assured that the team is focussed on getting a result but won’t be going to the game with a rigid mindset.
“We won’t go in with any set mindset. Yes, there is a certain history of a venue, you look at the numbers and take some pointers from that. At least for us we will go there and try to be aggressive and brave, try and get a result.
“The game is played over five days so it is important to break it down to smaller targets. In every session, the demands would be different but one thing is sure that you are going to see a lot of aggressive cricket from our side,” the skipper assured.
A lot of this talk of aggressive intent has come watching England team’s radically different ultra-aggressive approach, which has caught the imagination of cricket fans.
And skipper Rahul doesn’t think English style of batsmanship characterises “recklessness”.

“As cricketers, I don’t think it is reckless cricket. They have certain mindset, they thought about it, they back their players and the players are doing the job for the team, so it doesn’t matter how you have done it. Cricket is changing, there is no set way of how this game needs to be played,” the stylish opener said.
Rahul in fact immensely enjoyed England’s 2-0 series win in Pakistan with a Test match still to go.
“To watch these two matches between England and Pakistan has really been interesting. I am really enjoying watching Test cricket being played like that, a very fearless, taking the game on.
“But each team has its own way. All teams can learn a thing or two from the teams that are doing well. You can’t always have the same approach. You turn up according to the conditions,” he said, providing his take on English approach.
“Hope Rohit can recover and play 2nd Test”
Skipper Rohit Sharma has now missed back-to-back Test matches — one vs England in July due to COVID-19 and now against Bangladesh due to left thumb dislocation and split webbing.
“Rohit is an important player for us. He is an experienced player and captain of our team. He is someone that the team will really miss but we hope he can recover quickly and comeback for the second Test,” Rahul said.
“Don’t know the criteria for selecting vice-captain”
The previous national selection committee had named Cheteshwar Pujara as vice-captain for the Bangladesh series even as chairman Chetan Sharma had said that Rishabh Pant and Jasprit Bumrah along with Rahul are being groomed as future leaders.
Pujara is just about holding onto to his spot in the Test squad and vice-captaincy will be an absolute boost. Pujara was also named vice-captain for one Test match during the 2020-21 historic tour of Australia.
When Rahul was asked about the vice captaincy, he sidestepped the issue.
“Regarding vice-captain, at least I don’t know what is the criteria. Whoever is picked, you give yourself a pat on the back. It really doesn’t change too many things, everybody in the team knows their roles and responsibilities.”
He didn’t want to distinguish between who could have been a better deputy.
“Rishabh and Pujara both have been brilliant for us in Test cricket and have done the job so many times. So we really don’t think much. The team wins as eleven players and when we go down we go down as whole team. Everyone has responsibility.”
“Shubman has done his job whenever given opportunity”
As a skipper, it is always important to back the performers and Rahul believes that his likely opening partner Shubman Gill is one of them.
“Shubman has been a brilliant player and it is wonderful to see his transformation (in ODIs). In Tests, whenever he has got the opportunity he has done the job for the team. He has temperament for the longest format. In every format, he is exciting. What we can do is back exciting and talented players.”
Rahul believes in empowering his players to make their own on-field decisions and play with a free mind.
“It is important as a leader to back your players, let them make their own decisions. At the same time, it is also important that we enjoy our cricket and not really think too much. It is about what we require to do as a team and as individuals to win the game for the country,” the Bangalore man said.
(With inputs from PTI)

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