A few days ago, Ravi Shastri remarked that failure of Indian team in Tests can be accredited to the inability of Indian bowlers to pick 20 wickets. However, in our opinion, the new team director is not entirely correct in his scrutiny since bowling was the lone bright spot in India’s woeful tour in England. Bhuvneshwar Kumar bowled well in first two tests, Ishant Sharma won the second test single handedly while Mohammad Shami was largely a disappointment. Considering the fact that apart from Ishant Sharma all the bowlers are young and are making new grounds in Test Cricket, it is wrong to blame the bowlers when they were let down by both the fielders and the batsmen.
Recently, Glenn McGrath has told the press that in his opinion, India will suffer a humiliating whitewash, mainly because the Indian batsmen will not be able to handle the pace battery led by Michel Johnson. But, we must not forget that Indian batting did not fail to thrive in recent past and in the first practice match too, they delivered. With the first test round the corner, it is mainly the bowlers who need to buckle up and hone their skills.
Ishant Sharma with his height and pace is expected to be the key man for India and I am rather hopeful that he will trouble the Australians on bowler friendly pitches. Shami was a total letdown in England as he failed to hit the right line but he has the potential to deliver for India. Shami bowls at a pace which is a gift not many can boast of. If he can strike the right chords he will wreak havoc on batsman’s. Varun Aaron looked brilliant in patches hitting 140+ at will. He has also proved his worth in the practice matches so far, grabbing 7 wickets from the two matches.
On the other hand, Bhuvneshwar depends on his swing to deceive batsman. Since Australian pitches do not offer that much assistance for swing bowlers like England, he needs to increase his pace yard or two to deliver. Finally, Ashwin and Jadeja will also have key roles to play too. Harbhajan and Kumble have shown in previous Australian tours that spinners can pick wickets in kangaroo land. Ashwin and Jaddu will be required to assist the pacers and break the partnerships whenever the captain calls them to do so. And a new name that has been added to the spin attack is Karn Sharma, who has picked up five wickets in the two practice matches.
Indian bowlers have displayed their talent time and again dazzling the spectators but they failed to deliver altogether. Many times it has been said that Indian team is a pack of medium pacers who lack the ability to scare the opponent. Bowlers like Shami and Aaron have done well to break the shackles hitting 140+ regularly. India has no dearth of talent this time and this bowling attack has the right spices to run through the Aussie’s provided all of them click together.
In England the bowlers created chances but fielders failed to cash in. This is really disheartening for bowlers and this time around fielders will be required to back the bowlers and if they can do, coupled with the batsmen putting a good show; there is no doubt that Indian bowling attack will bounce back to haunt the Kangaroos.