Former West Indies speedster Michael Holding has said he would not have Jasprit Bumrah as an opening bowler despite the pacer’s stunning show in the third England vs India Test.
Holding’s fascination for bold claims is nothing new in the cricketing circles. Holding was recently trolled on social media after his criticism of Hardik Pandya had backfired. In an interview with ESPNcricinfo, Holding had said that Pandya is not yet completely performing his role as an allrounder. He had also said that Pandya was “nowhere near” Kapil Dev.
However, in his very next outing, Pandya took a five-wicket haul and scored an unbeaten fifty to help India thrash England in the third Test. And now Holding has made another bold claim, saying that Bumrah “is not a new-ball bowler”.
“I would still not have him (Bumrah) as my opening bowler. Ishant Sharma and Mohammed Shami do a bit more with the brand new ball and they will remain my opening bowlers in Bhuvneshwar Kumar’s absence,” Holding told The Times of India.
Bumrah starred for India at Trent Bridge. He took 5 for 85 as India won the game by 203 runs.
Interestingly, four of Bumrah’s five wickets came in the final session of the fourth day with the second new ball. The pacer dismissed England captain Joe Root in the first session to put India on top. However, he had to toil hard to get on the wicket-taker’s list once again. But when he finally took a wicket, the match turned in India’s favour. His second wicket of the innings proved to be the most important one.
Bumrah dismissed Jos Buttler, who scored his maiden century in the match, to break the stubborn 169-run stand between the batsman and Ben Stokes. He later went on to dismiss Jonny Bairstow, Chris Woakes and Stuart Broad to complete his fifer.
But Holding is still not impressed with Bumrah’s new-ball skills in Test cricket.
“What I have seen is he can get the ball to straighten from wide of the crease and is more effective with the slightly older ball,” he said.
Holding also refused to accept that Bumrah has tried his hand at developing an outswinger since he made his debut in South Africa in January.
“What you have to remember is that in England, with so much assistance from both pitch and atmosphere for the quick bowlers, Bumrah will get the odd ball to straighten on the right-handers’ off-stump, although his action doesn’t enhance his ability to do so. The same delivery in South Africa, Australia, etc would not straighten as it can tend to do in England. He has pace, though, which is a welcome asset that cannot be bought,” said Holding.