By Amlan Chakraborty
HYDERABAD, India (Reuters) – India have not lost a test series at home since 2012-13 but captain Rohit Sharma does not want him team mates to start believing they are unbeatable in their own conditions.
Since Alastair Cook led a touring England to a 2-1 series victory more than a decade ago, India have gone on to win 16 consecutive test series at home.
Rohit’s team would begin as favourites in the five-test series against Ben Stokes’s England but the home captain looked determined to prevent any complacency from creeping into their approach.
“No, no, not at all. At the end of the day, it’s sport,” Rohit said dismissing the suggestion in his pre-match press conference.
“By no means whatever records we have in the past decade or so gives us the guarantee that we are going to win the series.
“I won’t say we are not beatable, we are.
“We want to think that if we don’t step up or don’t show up well, we are going to find ourselves in trouble. We don’t want to be doing that.”
Especially against an England team, who are out to redefine how test cricket is played with an ultra-aggressive ‘Bazball’ approach championed by captain Stokes and coach Brendon “Baz” McCullum.
“England obviously is a very good team, they play their test cricket really well and obviously the last team to beat us here in our conditions,” Rohit said.
“For us it will be important that we stick to our strength and do the things that we know how to do.”
England have named a spin-heavy attack with Mark Wood as the lone fast bowler for the series opener.
Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja would shoulder India’s spin load but Rohit did not reveal who between Axar Patel and Kuldeep Yadav would be their third spinner.
The India captain also confirmed KL Rahul, primarily a batter who kept wicket in the 50-overs World Cup last year, would not be deployed behind the stumps.
On what is widely expected to be a turning track, India would rather prefer a specialist though Rohit would not reveal whether it would be Srikar Bharat, who has played five tests, or the uncapped Dhruv Jurel.
(Reporting by Amlan Chakraborty in Hyderabad; editing by Christian Radnedge)