The No 1 Test team in the world, Team India is all set to lock horns against England in a 5 match Test series starting at Birmingham in Edgbaston tomorrow. They have played some terrific brand of cricket in the recent past across all 3 formats of the game. They performed quite brilliantly in the Test series in South Africa. However, it wasn’t enough to give them a series victory. They managed to win the 3rd and the final Test in a difficult pitch in Johannesburg.
India lost a couple of sessions each in both the first two tests which eventually led to their downfall. The pace bowling brigade was quite spectacular. It was the joint effort from the pace attack which helped India bag 60 wickets in the series. Despite losing the series they made sure they had a bowling line-up which has the ability to dismantle any batting line-up.
Bhuvneshwar and Bumrah would have made a huge difference together says Shastri
Two of the best bowlers of India has not been fully fit in the last few months. Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah have been in and out of the team owing to injury. They are the two most accomplished bowlers across formats. Hence they would look to be part of the XI together once the series goes beyond the 3rd Test.
Team India head coach Ravi Shastri said that the likes of Bumrah and Bhuvneshwar would have made a huge difference had they been totally fit for the limited overs series.
“You have to try other people out. If Bumrah and Bhuvneshwar had been fully fit in the one-day series, it would have been a different ball game altogether. [If] we had both of them fully fit for the entire Test series, it would have given me selection headaches. There is still enough experience and variety in our bowling attack – whether it is pace, spin, or Hardik [Pandya] filling in as a fast-medium bowler. There are enough options there,” Shastri said.
Ishant has done pretty well in the recent past
Ishant Sharma has done brilliantly in Sri Lanka. He did outstandingly in that Test match in Johannesburg, where he bowled his heart out. He might not have taken a five-for. But he kept the bloody pressure on South Africa all the time. That is his role. He is experienced. He wants to be a spearhead. Ishant has taken more wickets than anyone else among the fast bowlers. He will remember his seven-wicket haul at Lord’s in 2014, which played a big hand in the win. Those are the memories that will run through his mind when he gets the ball in hand,” he further added.
Ravichandran Ashwin’s place in the XI has been questioned in the recent past. However, Ravi called him a world-class spinner who has proved for a long period of time. “His record, his experience is huge. He is world-class and has proven it over a span of time. Ashwin is hungry and wants to do good game after the game,” Shastri said.
Kuldeep can be picked at any stage feels Shastri
Left-arm chinaman bowler Kuldeep Yadav might be an X-factor for Team India. However, it is still not known whether he would be part of the playing XI in the opening Test or not. Moreover he has performed well in the kimited overs format which stands him in good stead.
“He could be picked at any stage. There is [Ravindra] Jadeja. There is Ashwin. Depending on the surface, we will have to decide whether to go for one or two spinners. That will be our headache. But yes, Kuldeep has arrived. He has already played Test cricket. He had done decently in the ODIs. Kuldeep is also hungry. He is a tough little nut. And with more exposure he will only get better,” the head coach said.
Selection of Pant is not a bold move says Shastri
Rishabh Pant has been picked as the 2nd wicket-keeper in the team behind Dinesh Karthik. When asked that how bold the move was picking Pant in the squad, Ravi said that it was not at all a bold decision. Pant has been scoring consistent runs in the first class circuit. Hence he deserved a chance.
“Why was it bold? He was getting runs for India A. He is young. It is also time to groom another keeper. He has the flair. He has something unorthodox about him when it comes to his batting. Pant can be a game changer, so why not give him the opportunity,” he said.
Shastri further concluded by saying that India should look to play a fearless brand of cricket. “Fearless cricket. Trust your instincts. Play your natural game. Results will happen. We will have some fun. We are aggressive. Here to win. Even this series we are playing to win. We are not here to draw games or filled in the numbers. We play every game to win and take the game forward. And if in trying to win we lose a game, tough luck. As long as we win more than we lose, we are happy,” he said.