'He is in same category as James Anderson': Former Pakistan captain says India pacer is a 'must' for England Tests

  • Former Pakistan captain Salman Butt feels Bhuvneshwar Kumar is India's best swing bowler and found it surprising to see him miss the ticket to the UK.
From Left: Mohammed Siraj, Shardul Thakur and Bhuvneshwar Kumar. (Getty Images)
From Left: Mohammed Siraj, Shardul Thakur and Bhuvneshwar Kumar. (Getty Images)
Updated on Jul 01, 2021 01:31 PM IST
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By, New Delhi

India's bowling has been the crux of several debates following the team's defeat to New Zealand in the World Test Championship final. The fast-bowling trio of Mohammed Shami, Ishant Sharma and Jasprit Bumrah, which India went ahead with, came in for bit of a stick – Bumrah in particular for his wicketless outing. And while Shami and Ishant stood out in the first innings, combining for seven New Zealand wickets, they appeared out of gas in the second.

With the WTC final over, India now set their eyes on the biggest series of the summer, where they will take on England in five Test matches, marking the commencement of the second World Test Championship cycle. However, ahead of its start on August 4, India need to address a few questions going forward, including the selection of their fast bowlers for crunch ties.

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While Mohammed Siraj is likely to get the nod, reserve bowlers Prasidh Krishna, Arzan Nagaswalla and Avesh Khan can get a look in as well. However, former Pakistan captain Salman Butt feels the one bowler who is a must have for India during the England Test series is none other than Bhuvneshwar Kumar. The 32-year-old fast bowler was not part of India's 20-member squad of England and is currently in Sri Lanka preparing for the limited-overs series. Having said that, Butt feels Bhuvneshwar is India's best swing bowler and found it surprising to see him miss the ticket to the UK.

"I feel Bhuvneshwar Kumar should have been in India. After all, he is the best swing bowler India has. They didn't even bring him along. The amount of swing and seam that was on offer on this pitch, he should have been there. The fast bowlers who played the final are all 'hit the deck' bowlers," Butt said on Cricket Baaz with Waheed Khan.

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With the kind of surface that was on offer for the WTC final, Butt feels none of the three pacers were genuine swing bowlers. Stressing on the same, Butt feels Bhuvneshwar – who has picked up 19 wickets at an average of 26.63 with two five-wicket-hauls in five Tests in England – is in the same bracket as the legendary James Anderson and that the management should find out a way to fly him into the Test squad.

"In terms of bowlers who release the bowlers and swing it, Bhuvneshwar... he comes in the same category as James Anderson. He is that kind of a bowler. So I thought he would have been better off but again, it's their team. The know more about the players and think tank. Perhaps they decided what was best for them. But I feel he should have been here and even now he should be a must for England Test," Butt added.

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Monday, January 17, 2022