Ever since Team India traveled to Australian shores this year, the test matches are in focus for various reasons:
- Will India be able to repeat the 2018-19 test performance?
- Questions over availability of Rohit Sharma
- Virat Kohli”s paternity leaves after the first test, and
- The debate around the third pace bowling option in the absence of Ishant Sharma
Even though the third seamer debate is a low-key affair, it is going to be the crucial cog in India’s defense of the Border-Gavaskar trophy. To win a test match, a team needs to take 20 wickets. Without an all-round bowling attack, it is near impossible to do that in foreign conditions. Let’s dissect India’s pace bowling dilemma in Australia this time around.
Pace Bowling Disappointment
In the last few years, Team India has the most potent pace bowling attack spearheaded by Ishant Sharma. As Sachin Tendulkar said: “India has all basis covered: Swinging, seaming, hit the deck, pure pace”.
However, there is hardly a series where India has all its options available at its disposal: mainly due to injury. In 2020, Ishant Sharma has played a sole test match in New Zealand. In spite of that, he got injured in his first match for Delhi Capitals this IPL. Not just him, even Bhuvneshwar Kumar has been on the same bus. In my opinion, the fitness of India’s pace bowlers has been a major disappointment.
The absence of both the senior bowlers will have a major impact on every game. If Team India will miss the bounce and accuracy of Ishant, Bhuvi’s control over swing would have been vital in a day-night test match with the pink ball.
Hope & Opportunity
As they say, “One man’s loss is One man’s gain”. The absence of Ishant Sharma brings joy for either of Umesh Yadav and Mohd. Siraj. For Team India Management, both these men bring hope & opportunity: to try and test them.
As far as Umesh Yadav is concerned, he possesses the experience of playing test matches in Australia. Of course, he didn’t have good outings back then, but things have changed quite a lot after that. On his day, he can single-handedly torment the opposition with his swing at 140+ KPH pace. More importantly, his fitness levels are way higher than any other bowler in this team. He can bowl the first and last bowl of the day with the same freshness. In Umesh, Team India has a hope of tying down the Australian batting all day long.
Mohd. Siraj chose to be with Team India in spite of losing his father back home a few days ago. That shows how tough a character he is. Though he doesn’t have the experience of playing test matches, he has taken all A team opportunities with both hands. His potential as a pace bowler cannot be undermined even by an ounce.
In Siraj, Team India has the opportunity of trying a youngster and add him into India’s already potent pace bowling attack. Let’s hope that he delivers to the best of his abilities whenever he gets a game.
In Umesh and Siraj, Team India has hope & opportunity. I wish both of them a truckload of luck, with the wish that they’ll win matches for India.