Ishant Sharma in his bowling stride. (Getty Images)
Ishant Sharma in his bowling stride. (Getty Images)

'Ishant has just returned from injury': Former India all-rounder questions India’s Playing XI for 1st Test

  • The former all-rounder reckons India should have played two spinners and included an extra fast bowler, believing it would have given their attack more 'balance'.
PUBLISHED ON FEB 06, 2021 10:26 AM IST

Former India all-rounder Madan Lal is not convinced India assembled their best Playing XI for the first Test against England in Chennai. Lal, a former India coach, reckons the team should have played two spinners and included an extra fast bowler, believing it would have given their attack more 'balance'. Virat Kohli instead played two pacers in Jasprit Bumrah and Ishant Sharma, while picking R Ashwin, Washington Sundar and Shahbaz Nadeem as the three spinners on a placid Chennai surface.

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"I think India have not played with a balanced bowling attack," Lal told Sports Tak during a conversation. "They should have played with three pacers and two spinners. Ishant Sharma has only just returned from an injury, so it would have been wise to play him after 1-2 Tests. They also dropped Mohammed Siraj, who bowled so well in Australia."

One of the other combinations India could have gone ahead with for the Chennai Test, believes Lal, is giving Shardul Thakur a go in place of Washington Sundar. There were surprises over India picking left-arm spinner Nadeem over the more experienced Kuldeep Yadav. The wrist-spinner picked up a five-wicket-haul in the last Test he played for India but the think tank gave the nod to Nadeem, who’s played just one Test for India before.

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"If you wanted to bat deep, you could have played Shardul Thakur ahead of Washington Sundar and could have gone with Kuldeep Yadav over Shahbaz Nadeem," Lal pointed out.

England finished Day 1 on 263/3 with skipper Joe Root peeling off his 20th Test century and Lal believed that if the visitors can finish somewhere around 450, India will have some work to do. "Joe Root has scored a really significant hundred. If England are able to reach the score of 450, the pressure might be on India," Lal added.

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