'No threats to his place': Ashish Nehra picks India's fast bowling attack for first Test against England
India have seven fast bowlers in their squad in Jasprit Bumrah, Ishant Sharma, Mohammed Shami, Mohammed Siraj, Umesh Yadav, Shardul Thakur and standby Prasidh Krishna in England right now but former India seamer Ashish Nehra believes there should not be any doubts about who should start if India decide to play only three seamers in the first Test.
Nehra said if there are no injury concerns to any of them then Bumrah, Shami and Ishant should be India’s seamers in the series opener at Trent Bridge starting on August 4.
“You have to start with Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami and Ishant Sharma,” Nehra told Hindustan Times during a virtual interaction ahead of the five-match series.
The three seamers also featured in India’s XI in the WTC final against New Zealand which the Virat Kohli-led side lost a few weeks ago in Southampton.
“Of course, these three will play. If you want a fourth fast bowler then the captain, coach and team management can take a call based on who has been bowling well. You want to go with Umesh Yadav or you want to play Siraj. But if you are playing three seamers then you will start with Bumrah, Shami and Ishant unless there is an injury to any of them,” Nehra, who is part of the commentary team of India vs England series broadcasters Sony Sports Network added.
Mohammed Siraj, who returned with 13 wickets in his first three Tests in Australia earlier this year will have to wait for his opportunity, feels Nehra.
“Yes, Siraj is waiting in the wings but he has to wait for his turn. Everybody knows that Siraj is a great prospect, a very skilful bowler,” Nehra added.
Bumrah is India’s main guy with the ball: Nehra
Ever since Bumrah suffered a back injury that kept him away from cricket for quite some time in 2019, the right-arm seamer hasn’t been at his best.
In his last four Tests, Bumrah has returned with only 7 wickets at an average of 50.71. The all-format specialist for India went wicketless in the WTC final and has the third-worst bowling average among bowlers who have bowled more than 100 overs in Test matches this year.
But Nehra threw his weight firmly behind Bumrah, stating there should not be any question marks whatsoever on Bumrah’s place in the side.
“Here you are talking about a guy like Bumrah who has done really well in the last five-six years since his arrival. Don’t think there is any threat to Bumrah’s place in the side. It’s not like he hasn’t been bowling well for the last 10-12 Tests.
“Of course nobody is permanent. If the captain and coach think that you are not bowling well then, they can take a call but that I have not seen with Bumrah, Shami or Ishant. Sometimes you don’t pick as many wickets and when you come back from an injury, it gets tough for you, it’s not easy. But whenever I’ve seen Bumrah bowl, I haven’t felt he is not bowling well or he is not looking in a good rhythm,” Nehra told Hindustan Times.
Nehra backed Bumrah to bring his A-game to the table against England this summer.
“You don’t want to be too harsh on someone like Bumrah that he starts thinking that his place is not secured. Yes, you want to push them but I’m a firm believer that he is your main guy. When you talk about winning big tournaments or series, you want your core group to do well and I’m hoping Bumrah brings his A-game in England,” he added.
Nehra brushed aside the talks of India’s seam attack being one-dimensional with no out and out-swing bowler present in the side to exploit the English conditions more.
“I don’t agree that you need only swing bowlers in England. Look at somebody like Stuart Broad. Even Jofra Archer is not a swing bowler. But they are England’s main weapons, so a lot depends on how you bowl and it’s not like Bumrah or Shami can’t swing the ball or they need one particular surface to achieve results,” he said.
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