The current Indian team has one of the most formidable pace attacks in any conditions in the world. However, the tougher conditions in Australia will make it a very challenging series for the fast bowlers, reckons former fast bowler Ashish Nehra. He feels that the current attack “has the ability” to succeed but conditions will be different than what they got in England and South Africa.
During a recent interview with PTI, Nehra said, “Australian team is going through a massive restructuring and this is India’s best chance without a doubt. We have the bowling attack to beat them. But we need to be mindful that conditions will be much tougher Down Under where the wickets will be flat and weather would be on the warmer side. In Australia, you will get an extra bounce but there will only be lateral movement till the kookaburra seam doesn’t flatten. Once you get adjusted to the bounce, batsmen can hit you all day.”
The hard Australian grounds can always pose fitness challenges for the fast bowlers as the feet take a lot more pounding than England or New Zealand. However, Ashish reckons that Jasprit Bumrah, Ishant Sharma and one between Mohammed Shami and Umesh Yadav, who will be starting in Adelaide.
Nehra explained, “I don’t see Bhuvi starting in the first Test at least. He can struggle a bit with the old kookaburra as it will neither swing or seam, unlike Dukes or SG Test. I still believe that Umesh is not a finished product after eight years but someone who has incredible skill sets. He is a strong lad and the fittest among all Indian pacers. A testimony to that is his performances in Indian conditions when he can reverse the 65-70 overs old ball at a good speed. He should feature sometime.”
Ashish Nehra also opined that Ishant Sharma’s stamina will also be required as his fitness is what makes him “special” as he feels that Sharma has played 87 Tests which gives the testimony to his fitness. He also shared that people often look at the wickets column (256) but bowling 35-40 overs for more than a decade also requires special skills.
The flamboyant southpaw explained, “Let me be honest. Whether it’s me or Rudra Pratap Singh or S Sreesanth, we had more skills as a fast bowler than Ishant. I had my share of injuries and RP also had fitness issues. Sreesanth was a different case altogether despite blessed with enormous skills. But then Ishant has been fit for so long, so let’s give credit where it is due.”
Nehra concluded by talking about the all-rounder abilities of Bumrah, who has become a crucial member of the Indian Test squad despite playing just 6 Test so far as he has taken 28 wickets in them at a phenomenal average of 25.5.
Ashish Nehra concluded, “Jasprit Bumrah is much more skillful red-ball bowler than what he is perceived to be. His yorkers will come in very handy with old kookaburra. Any batsman, who has not played Bumrah before can find it difficult to counter the awkward angle that his delivery creates. And in England, I found out that he can now get the ball to straighten consistently after pitching. So Bumrah is not a one-dimensional bowler.”