Kolkata, Nov 14: The pitch at Eden Gardens surprised a few when it was unveiled ahead of the practice session as it was green top.
Due to this several experts were amazed by the BCCI's decision to rest all-rounder, Hardik Pandya, for he could have been a good seaming option to play with. Experts consistently suggested that considering the fact that the newly laid track at Eden Gardens assists pacers, India should play with three regular seamers in the absence of Pandya.
Now reports are claiming that the Indian team management will be playing with three frontline pacers in the opening Test against Sri Lanka, keeping in mind the upcoming South Africa tour.
It has been learnt that the Indian team management wants tracks that are hard and bouncy without any major grass covering for all three home Tests -- something they will be getting in South Africa.
Keeping that in mind, the grass cover was removed by the Eden Gardens groundsmen on Monday (November 13).
As India will have to go in with three specialist speedsters in South Africa, Mohammed Shami and Umesh Yadav will be complemented by either Bhuvneshwar Kumar or Ishant Sharma.
Ishant led Delhi in three Ranji Trophy games this season, and more importantly, bowled really well in all the matches. His back of the length bowling on hard tracks can be useful.
Similarly, Bhuvneshwar can be very useful considering the swing on offer during the early morning and post-tea session at the Eden Gardens. He grabbed a five-for in the last Test match played at this venue against New Zealand, last year.
Also, when the last international game - an ODI match - was played in Kolkata against Australia it was Bhuvneshwar who shined with the ball again and returned with another five-wicket haul.
The two specialist spinners are likely to be Ravichandran Ashwin and chinaman Kuldeep Yadav. Ashwin was seen practising a lot of wrong 'uns while using the grip of a leg-break bowler.
However, there is a high possibility that skipper Virat Kohli goes with his trusted soldier Ravindra Jadeja, who is ranked second in ICC Test rankings.
On the other hand, Kohli was seen facing reverse swing throwdowns against a customised red and yellow ball. These balls are specially designed so that batsmen can practice against reverse swing.
One part of the seam is yellow coloured and the other is red. Normally, the throwdown expert tries to reverse it at a fast pace from 16 or 18 yards.
Sachin Tendulkar used to practice a lot with these balls during the last part of his career. This practice is also common with a lot of Ranji teams including Delhi.
(With inputs from PTI)