In my last post, I went through the batting analysis for India. In this post, I have shed light on Indian bowling. Can they win it for India this time around?
Even before the first ball of the series is bowled, there are doubts about the leading bowler from the England tour not being available for the first two tests. This has been the story with Indian fast bowling attack since the day Kapil Dev left. India still misses the complete package that is supremely fit and can consistently deliver at the highest level.
This is the department which has seen the most churn over the years. Many a body have come and gone without making much impact. India does not have the services of Zak anymore. That makes Ishant, the leader of the pack. On his first tour he made us all believe that a genuine fast bowler from India has arrived. That promise was definitely not delivered in the previous tour in 2011. This is 3rd tour and probably one more to come.Let’s hope Ishant repeats some of the success of the Lord’s test. At 27 to be the senior most bowler is quite an achievement in itself.
As I write these lines, Bhuvneshwar Kumar’s availability for the first two tests is already in doubt because of an injury. This was something expected at the end of the Test series after a month long gruelling Test cricket. It is unfortunate that India will miss his services at least for the first two tests. Bhuvneshwar with his swing was successful in English conditions where swing is king. Australian wickets are not very conducive to swing, but with his control over line and length,he would have been a great asset.
Shami after his initial promise in the home series has only shown glimpses of the same, in the series that followed. Off late he has been erratic with his line and length most of the time. If there is anything that India cannot afford in this series, it is free runs to the aggresive Australian batsmen.
The fourth pacer spot has seen a rotation between two contenders who usually take turns to get injured. Aaron has the pace to deliver, as shown even in the practice games. His foot landing was corrected, and it is was told, it would prevent future injuries. But the correction is not in place, in at least the games I saw. He seems to be an automatic pick and hopefully lasts the whole series. Umesh Yadav is the senior amongst the two, but has been in and out because of injury and also the rise of Shami. He also has the pace to trouble batsmen, but coming back from long lay off, means extra pressure on him to deliver and more recently he has been used as a one day bowler.
If all indications are to believed, India might play only one spinner. That makes it a contest between Ashwin,Jadeja and Karn Sharma for the lone spot. India might be tempted to play two spinners at least in Sydney and Adelaide. Ashwin could not deliver as a bowler in his previous stint down under. His height and the bounce on Australian wickets will be crucial, only if he keeps away from bowling carrom ball and other limited over varieties. He will be looking to make amends from his previous tour here.
If practice games and history are to be considered, the balance tilts in Karn Sharma’s favor. He is a decent bat too. Only limitation with him being, we would not see as many flighted deliveries. With the likes of Clarke, Smith, Watson in the lineup, flight and spin are no longer a threat.
Jadeja has been picked ahead of Ojha on most overseas tours, because of his ability to bat. But if he decides to bat like he did in New Zealand and England, it might prove counter productive.His accuracy and consistency will be thoroughly tested, as he is not known to spin or flight the ball as much.