Mohammed Shami has downplayed all the concerns regarding the fitness of Ishant Sharma, who was off-colour in England‘s first innings at Headingley as the hosts posted a mammoth total in excess of 400.
The lanky pacer didn’t seem anywhere close to his best on both Day 1 or Day 2, either in his run-up or his deliveries. He strayed plenty of widish deliveries and on the leg side and was duly put away by the English batsmen.
On a flat surface, with a low total in hand, when India needed their bowlers to contain runs, the most experienced seamer leaked 92 runs in 22 overs, at 4.2 runs per over.
It felt as though he wasn’t completely fit for the game, after being effective in the win at Lord’s. He also bowled several short spells, further making the concerns of his fitness pronounced.
It’s just that the captain has to see which bowler needs recovery: Mohammed Shami
Mohammed Shami, who was the pick of the Indian bowlers with 4 wickets in the innings, banished all such worries about the fitness of the 100-Test veteran. On Ishant’s short spells, he said that it was down to the skipper on how he uses his bowlers.
“See when sometimes the ball doesn’t come well off the bowler’s hands or if the team has been on the field for a long time, the captain starts giving short spells of 3-4 overs. You don’t need to bowl 7-8 over spells consistently in Test matches,” Mohammed Shami said after the end of the Day 2.
“It depends on the situation and the bowler’s rhythm as well, that’s very important. You must have seen that Ishant started the innings and ended it as well.
“So there are no doubts about his (Ishant’s) fitness. It’s just that the captain has to see which bowler needs recovery, how many overs to give, how many short or long spells to give. It’s the captain’s call and not the bowler’s,” he added.
Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Shami got the remainder of two England wickets early on Day 3, and England ended their first innings with a lead of 354 runs.
The bowlers would be hoping that the batsmen bat for a long time as they have been in the field for more than 4 sessions. With not many rest days available between the last three Tests of the series, India may opt for rotating their fast bowlers.