India vs England: Jasprit Bumrah likely to play in Nottingham, Umesh Yadav misses out

With the third Test starting at Trent Bridge on Saturday, it won’t be a surprise if Jasprit Bumrah’s return becomes the latest in a revolving door policy in Virat Kohli’s 37 Tests as captain.

cricket Updated: Aug 16, 2018 00:07 IST
N Ananthanarayanan
N Ananthanarayanan
Hindustan Times, Nottingham
India vs England,Jasprit Bumrah,Umesh Yadav
India's Jasprit Bumrah takes part in a nets session at Nottingham.(AP)

Umesh Yadav bowling at the Lord’s academy nets while Ishant Sharma and Mohammed Shami seemed to cry out for an extra pace hand to stop England at the Lord’s Test was not that significant.

What looked more significant was Jasprit Bumrah bowling in the nets with the cast on his broken left thumb finally off.

With the third Test starting at Trent Bridge on Saturday, it won’t be a surprise if Bumrah’s return becomes the latest in a revolving door policy in Virat Kohli’s 37 Tests as captain.

Down 0-2 after the innings and 159-run loss in the second Test, changes are expected.

Bumrah’s inclusion could also mean Umesh has played his only Test in England, barring any change forced due to injuries, for no fault of his. He was sharp at Edgbaston, and took three wickets, including those of the aggressive Jonny Bairstow and Sam Curran.

But he doesn’t have the confidence of the team management. He was not picked for any of the three Tests in South Africa on pitches tailor-made for him. He had been the workhorse during the preceding long home series in 2016-17.

This would have hardly been noticed but for the shock move to bring in Chinaman bowler Kuldeep Yadav despite overcast conditions on Friday morning when the toss finally took place. It rained throughout on Thursday, Day 1 of the Test, and forecast for more rain gave a clear idea that seamers would be decisive.

The focus is on batsmen after another collapse but questions will be raised on the selection since Kohli took over on the 2014-15 Australia tour.

Leading in tough overseas conditions is the real test of captaincy, and Kohli stands one loss away from a second successive overseas series defeat against a tough opponent. It will weigh on a combative player like Kohli, and his back trouble will only add to the woes.

But the squad members are hesitant to touch any subject related to the captain. After Kohli’s brilliant 149 in the first innings of the first Test, batting coach Sanjay Bangar, a former India opener, was asked to rate the knock as Kohli did not comment immediately.

“It must be among his top five, but it is better if you ask him,” said the man who had been working with Kohli to help overturn his poor record in England.

Asked about Umesh Yadav’s controversial omission at Lord’s, vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane said: “The answer to your question will be, I feel, when Kuldeep gets four/five wickets tomorrow, it’ll be completely different. But see, it’s about what captain and coach (Ravi Shastri) think. In the end, it’s the captain’s decision and I felt Virat is backing Kuldeep and we’ll have to wait and see.”

Kuldeep eventually bowled just nine overs (0/44) out of the 88.1 overs England faced. R Ashwin, brought on only in the 39th over, was given 17 and Rahane led the team for substantial periods when Kohli was receiving treatment.

A second spinner was an option when the pitch was dry. But it meant India were handicapped after reducing England to 131/5. Umesh’s skill with the older ball would have made a huge difference.

India’s batting capitulation has led to gloom like in 2011 and 2014. Opener Murali Vijay does not have a fifty in the last six away Tests, and 11 innings. Rahane has gone eight away Tests and 13 innings without a hundred. Both look low on confidence besides the shortcomings in technique.

The constant shuffling in the top order is also unlikely to help infuse confidence and give mental clarity to the batsmen like Kohli wants.

First Published: Aug 15, 2018 20:21 IST