Ishant Sharma must deliver in South Africa; Steyn, Morkel not a threat: Venkatesh Prasad

Ishant Sharma is yet to realise his true potential, feels former pacer Venkatesh Prasad, who wants the lanky speedster to lead the Indian attack in next month’s tough tour of South Africa.

cricket Updated: Dec 26, 2017 18:35 IST
Press Trust of India
Press Trust of India
Press Trust of India, New Delhi
Ishant Sharma,Venkatesh Prasad,South Africa cricket team
Ishant Sharma should lead the pace attack when India take on South Africa, feels former Indian pace bowler Venkatesh Prasad. (AFP)

While the Indian team is bracing up for pace on their tour of South Africa beginning January first week, former India pacer Venkatesh Prasad feels the likes of Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel, who are returning from an injury lay-off will not be a threat to the formidable Indian batting line-up.

Prasad, however, feels that Indian batting needs to wary of Kagiso Rabada.

“With due respect, I don’t see Steyn and Morkel posing a big threat. The bowler India need to watch out for is Rabada. He is young, he has got the pace and creates that awkward bounce for the batsman,” he said.

Prasad said there is no reason why India can’t post 350 or more consistently against the South African attack.

“Most of our batsmen have been doing really well and I expect their rich form to continue in South Africa. They are experienced enough to deal with the conditions.”

Prasad, however, added that the Indian players shouldn’t be burdened with expectations.

“Every time India tour South Africa, England or Australia, there is a tendency to put extra pressure on the bowlers. That is not fair.

“It will be really important for the batsmen to put 350 runs or more on the board in the first innings. Then the bowlers come into play. I actually see the entire team performing well and win their maiden series in South Africa,” Prasad predicted.

The former India bowling coach feels Ishant Sharma is yet to realise his true potential and should be the main bowler in South Africa.

India have picked five specialist pacers -- Ishant, Umesh Yadav, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohammed Shami and Jasprit Bumrah -- for the three-Test series starting in Cape Town on January 5.

By far the most experienced pacer out of the five, Ishant, has been bowling well of late but he is not sure to start in the playing eleven.

The 29-year-old made his Test debut way back in 2007 and has played 79 Tests since then, taking 226 wickets at an average of 36.55.

“Ishant has been around for more than a decade. It is high time that he leads the attack. I don’t know what the issue is. He has got the pace, the height, the aggression but he has not realised his potential. He should be playing the role that Srinath (Javagal) played when he was around, or

Zaheer Khan or Kapil Dev when they played,” Prasad said.

Talking about the Indian pacers picked for the South Africa tour, Prasad said there is enough variety but a lot would depend on how they adapt to the conditions.

“They all are different to each other. With more and more cricket being played and more rolling, the pitches in South Africa are not what they were 10-15 years ago.

“However, the extra bounce would surely suit the faster bowlers but it remains to be seen how the Indian pacers adapt to the conditions after doing well at home,” said Prasad.

Bumrah has received his maiden call-up in Tests after doing well consistently in the shorter formats.

“He has done well and that is why he has been picked. Let him get the opportunity then we will see how he fares. The requirements of bowling in Tests are different to the needs of the shorter formats,” said Prasad, who toured South Africa twice.

First Published: Dec 26, 2017 18:35 IST