India’s batsmen like many things when it comes to bowling to feed on, but left-arm swing bowlers is not one of them. And it is precisely with this in mind that James Franklin has been drafted into the home side for the first Test. It is another matter that he has also been scoring heavily over the last few weeks, making him an ideal replacement for Jacob Oram, who ruled himself out of the first Test with injury.
“That’s probably the way to look at it from the outside, I can bat and bowl,” Franklin said. “With Jake not being here at the moment, that’s a role I would like to go out and provide for the team. Being a left-armer, I bring a little bit of variation. I can swing the ball, so it’ll be a different angle of attack for the batsmen.
“I’d like to think I can do the job both with the ball and the bat. I’ve had a good hit over the last three days for Wellington at Napier, it’s nice to get a few runs and wickets under my belt,” said Franklin, who made a half-century and an unbeaten century, and took three wickets, against the Central Stags before leaving the match a day early.
He has never played against India but he is well aware of the damage Mahendra Singh Dhoni's men can do to a bowling attack. “They have been batting great for the last couple of weeks in the one-dayers, but Test cricket is a new style of cricket. We saw a bit of pace and bounce in Auckland. Maybe we can expose the Indian batsmen a little bit with the ball jumping around. But if it's low and slow and docile, we know they can get back and prove pretty hard to get out.
“At the same time, we cannot forget that their bowling line-up has been doing a hell of a job over the last year or so as well. Zaheer Khan is a wily old fox, he's been bowling very well in the one-day series. We know Ishant Sharma has been bowling fantastically in Test cricket since last year. You've always got Harbhajan and Mishra as well with the spin; it's going to be a tough task but we're well and truly capable of rising to the challenge.”