The Indian cricket team management has taken steps to address the concerns of injury-related breakdowns impacting players. They are now given regular rests between series, especially fast bowlers and those who play all three formats regularly. India has quality right-arm pacers at their disposal across formats, but they continue to miss a world-class left-arm pacer.
In recent times, T Natarajan, Arshdeep Singh, and even Jaydev Unadkat have emerged as likely options, but none has been able to string together enough eye-catching performances to cement their spot. RP Singh, a former India cricketer, and a left-arm pacer, says the fact that bowlers aren’t playing enough red-ball cricket is impacting their progress. Singh is also against workload management in terms of bowling as he feels the more one bowls, the better it gets.
“We have come from a structure where bowlers used to bowl a hour-and-a-half straight in the nets. That’s how you improve your bowling. See, the bowlers have to take a stand and say that they want to bowl. You have to nurture your relationship with the ball. Not playing four-day matches, domestic cricket is a big reason behind the lack of quality pacers, and left-arm pacers in particular,” RP Singh said.
He picked the example of Mohammed Siraj who was initially regarded good enough for just Test cricket but eventually showed significant improvement in his white-ball game by toiling hard across formats.
“That’s why, left-armers perform in patches, they aren’t consistent. Arshdeep performs good in T20s, you can use him in longer formats. Mohsin… they have gone up-and-down. Siraj came, he was expensive at times, but he continued to toil and made his way into the Indian teams across all formats. His graph is going up. The left-arm pacers will have to follow his graph,” RP Singh said.
In the ongoing three-match ODI series against West Indies, India has given debut to another right-arm pacer in Mukesh Kumar while Unadkat, who last played an ODI in 2013, was snubbed. It will be interesting to see if any of the left-arm pacers can break into the Indian team in the near future.