IND vs NZ 1st Test: 'He can be deadly' in absence of Bumrah, Shami - Former India spinner names bowler 'who has to play'
The former India spinner said that while Ishant Sharma will be the first name in the XI among bowlers, this Indian speedster could be important in absence of Bumrah and Shami.
Team India will return to Test action on Thursday when the side takes on New Zealand in the first of two matches in Kanpur. Ajinkya Rahane will be leading the side in the absence of Virat Kohli, who has been rested for the first game. IND vs NZ Live Cricket Score
While Kohli will return for the second Test, opener Rohit Sharma has been rested for the entire series while KL Rahul was ruled out of the series earlier this week due to a muscle injury. Stand-in skipper Rahane had confirmed earlier in the pre-match press conference on Wednesday that Shreyas Iyer would be making his Test debut.
While the opening slot will likely fill itself with Mayank Agarwal and Shubman Gill, Pujara, Rahane, Iyer and one of Saha or Bharat will make the batting order. However, it is the bowling lineup that will require some head-scratching.
Former Indian spinner Pragyan Ojha believes that while four bowlers will "definitely" be a part of the XI in the Kanpur Test, conditions will decide the fifth.
"Ishant Sharma is the senior-most player, he will definitely be in the XI. A player like him should either remain in the XI or shouldn't be in the 15-member squad as all," Ojha said on Cricbuzz, implying that Ishant, with his 100+ Test experience, should either be entirely rested or remain in the playing XI.
Ojha further mentioned that Siraj's selection becomes highly important in absence of Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Shami.
"Mohammed Siraj is the second bowler who has to be in the XI. he's a fiery player, full of competitiveness and aggression. When you play in the sub-continent, you should be good at reverse-swing. And when you don't have Bumrah and Shami, Mohammed Siraj becomes very important. If he gets the reverse swing, he will be deadly," said Ojha.
"Ravindra Jadeja and Ravichandran Ashwin will be my third and fourth choices. The fifth bowler will either be Axar Patel or Umesh Yadav. If wicket aids turn, Axar may play or else Umesh can be in the XI."