West Indies legendary bowler Michael Holding has serious doubts over Indian pacer Jasprit Bumrah’s ability as a new ball bowler and said his specific skills do not force the captain to include him in the playing XI during India’s tour of England later this year.
As quoted in PTI, Holding said, “I am not sure he is going to be a good new ball bowler. He struggles to take the ball away from right-handers when bowling with the new ball. So he wouldn’t be my first choice (on overseas tours). My first choice is always Bhuvneshwar Kumar. Then I would think about Ishant Sharma and Mohammed Shami. I wouldn’t play Bumrah because he bangs the ball in. Those pitches need someone to bowl so that the ball who kisses the surface and gets it to move around.”
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Playing his debut Test series, Bumrah turned out to be the surprise revelation and picked his maiden five-wicket haul in the third Test and the final Test. Talking about the variety in Indian pace bowling, Michael said, “He hits the deck hard and that’s why he got those two wickets in Centurion (second innings) and the fiver here at Wanderers. When he hits the deck hard, and the ball is keeping up and down, at his pace the batsmen do not have time to react.”
Indian bowlers took all 60 wickets on offer in the recently concluded Test series, a first for India in an away three-Test contest and Holding was full of praise for the bowling contingent. However, Holding was disappointed with off-spinner R Ashwin, who had played in the first two Tests. He said, “I was disappointed with R Ashwin’s bowling at Centurion. In the second innings, he bowled as if he was bowling in a limited overs game. His line was wrong. For an off-spinner who spins the ball, it was too straight. It was too negative.”
Also read: Bumrah takes his maiden 5-fer
When asked about the Ranking, Holding replied, “Numbers don’t tell the full story. I don’t pay attention to ICC rankings of teams or players. When India became no.1, I didn’t think they were the best team. It was a similar situation when they went to England as the no.1 team a few years ago (2011) and lost every Test match.”
Michael Holding concluded by talking about Indian batting, which let down the team in the Test series against South Africa. He said, “This series hasn’t gone too well from no.1 ranked India’s point of view. Their batting has failed them. At the same time, I wouldn’t want to be a batsman making a living on the pitches I have seen in this series either. The Centurion wicket was slow and bowlers enjoyed it more than batsmen. Wanderers’ was a dangerous pitch. I would hate to be a batsman on such pitches.”