India in England 2014 July 7, 2014

India's bowling leader conundrum

The present Indian bowling line-up will tackle its first five-Test series without the proven guidance of Zaheer Khan, their bowling captain. India had unravelled without him in 2011. Will they do better this time around?
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India will have vivid memories of playing cricket's 2000th Test match. Zaheer Khan was into his 14th over at Lord's when he cringed and clutched the back of his leg. The follow-through was aborted and he limped into the dressing room and was never seen on the tour again. India had lost their bowling captain on the first afternoon of a four-Test series.

It was not simply a case of a cog gone missing. Zaheer's injury contributed to the rest of the attack losing focus. They appeared deflated for the remaining 18 days of the series and England took advantage. Only once did Andrew Strauss' side fail to pass 300, as they trampled India 4-0 to snatch the No. 1 Test ranking.

"Test cricket can be a lonely place if things go wrong," says Allan Donald, South Africa's bowling coach. "And it is a long period of time when things go wrong. And the challenge is how you pull it back."

His message will ring starkly on MS Dhoni and his side as they prepare to tackle their first five-Test tour, and like 2011 there will be no Zaheer, who is recovering from a side strain.

Ishant Sharma is the only bowler remaining from the 2011 debacle and looks Zaheer's likely successor. Yet he struggled for consistency in line, length and accuracy in both warm-up matches and hardly looked like he had emerged as India's best bowler in the Tests against New Zealand.

"Once again not having a clear leader, someone who has been there before, done it before in those conditions [is the challenge for India]," says Eric Simons, who was India's bowling coach on the 2011 tour. Zaheer had been the focal point of the bowling plan three years ago, and when he was injured "we knew we were going to struggle."

Praveen Kumar, Zaheer's new-ball partner, bowled the remaining three balls to complete the over at Lord's and subsequently took on the mantle of lead seamer. He was India's best bowler with 15 wickets in three Tests before he too was sidelined, with an ankle injury picked up while playing football.

"In 2011 we were left with just three fast bowlers after Zaheer's injury," says Praveen. "There was always someone injured which put undue pressure on the rest of the two bowlers. So that was lesson learned, to keep yourself fit to last longer during the series."

India will need to last five Tests, compressed into 42 days, and their first response to this challenge was to pick six specialist fast bowlers along with Stuart Binny, a seam-bowling allrounder. Another notable improvement from the last trip is the freshness of India's bowlers. In 2011, Praveen and Ishant had come to England after a whole tour in the West Indies.

Simons is excited by the pace the current set of bowlers can summon and Praveen has tipped their youth to help them push harder. Both of them believe India's bowling has the correct "balance" this time.

In Test cricket, the game is played in the head over five days. Yes, skills have a lot to do with it but mentally you need to be very, very strong. The Indian attack needs to find that belief
Allan Donald, South Africa bowling coach

"The more balls you feed a batsman, the more comfortable you will feel and the more likely you will get his wicket," says Praveen, tipping Uttar Pradesh team-mate Bhuvneshwar Kumar to do well if he can adjust to the change in conditions. "He just needs to adapt to the lengths: in India you bowl back of length but in England you need to pitch it fuller."

Donald, who has coached Warwickshire, echoed similar sentiments and said the Duke ball will increase the threat posed by Bhuvneshwar. "Where he is going to be significant is not just with the new ball. The Duke ball swings for a long time - not just when there is a cloud cover, but also when the sun is out. And for Bhuvi, who swings it both ways, if he does it consistently he could be a handful."

Zaheer's absence will be felt. "He will be massively missed," says Donald. "He swings the ball nicely. He is a clever bowler. In South Africa last year, even if he did not take many wickets, he kept coming against us, he bowled long spells and he was in very good physical shape.

"You earn the right to be leader of the group. That is what Zak has done over the years. He has shown he has terrific skills. It is a wonderful feeling knowing you are the leader of the group. You are not talking about Zak the man. You are talking about Zak the bowler. The impact he has on a team in a dressing room, on the training ground, during a Test match and the skills he brings in - that is a huge thing that goes missing."

Ishant is the most experienced bowler India have but Donald asserts that alone does not hand him the responsibility of leading the attack.

"In Test cricket, the game is played in the head over five days. Yes, skills have a lot to do with it but mentally you need to be very, very strong. The Indian attack needs to find that belief. How do you build that belief? You can't depend on a certain individual. The quicker this attack bowls with each other the quicker they will find who the leaders are in that group."

Donald said the process of finding a leader was not straightforward. "Is it in Bhuvi's make-up to be able to take that role? He is not that type of person. He is a very quiet guy, does what he needs to do. Then you look at Varun Aaron, who is very much brash and very much willing to lead from the front, but the process of how he sets himself up is very important at the moment. It can be very long days on flat wickets in July in England.

There are some pointers that a bowling coach can pick up on. Donald elaborates: "I look at characters. I looked at Morne Morkel. I looked at Dale Steyn. What do they bring to the team in terms of their character because that has a huge impact in the longer format of the game. When to engage, when to be aggressive, who is willing to take up the leadership role. Minor things like that."

Ishant has played 55 Tests. He has been India's workhorse for much of his seven-year career but there are aspects of his game that needs amending if he wants to be their go-to bowler.

"He needs to think like a Glenn McGrath and Shaun Pollock," says Simons. "He needs to think about patience, about not trying too much. He has the height, pace and variations. McGrath and Pollock did not try much but they were just patient. You will not get reverse swing in England like in India, so use your natural instincts and be consistent bowler that he should be."

Praveen said Ishant's confidence is another area that needs improvement. "At times the bowler is not sure if he is doing well. At such times he needs to speak to the right sort of people. Ishant now has a chance to play the senior bowler's role. He needs to think now that I am the senior and I need to take the responsibility and I need to bowl more aggressively.

"He has played a lot of cricket and there are ups and downs in a career. But he should have more confidence in him and inspire himself, and then go and play."

Along with the lack of a defined bowling structure, the visitors will be dented by the retirements of some senior batsmen who could have guided the bowlers on what kind of lengths and lines might trouble the opposition. "One of the things India are going to miss, and this might sound ironic, is the top Indian batsmen," says Simons. "They play a crucial role in guiding the bowlers on strategy.

"One of the things the fast bowlers need to keep in mind in England is to be patient. In England you play a bigger role as a seamer based on the friendly conditions but the key thing is to find and stick to the right line and length. And that is where a Rahul Dravid, Sachin Tendulkar, VVS Laxman, would tell a fast bowler, to stay put. They would help the bowler think from the batsman's point of view."

It was for this reason that Duncan Fletcher and the team management sought Dravid to mentor to the team. "What people don't understand is that the bowlers think like bowlers. I want Rahul to talk to them and make them think like batsmen," Fletcher told bcci.tv last week. "That way they will know what areas a batsman likes and doesn't like, which will help them a great deal in forming their strategies. The problem is that the Indian bowlers don't bat or practice batting when they're playing domestic cricket. And so, while they understand their bowling, they don't understand batting."

It is an inexperienced attack that will bear the responsibility of taking 20 wickets over five Tests. Fletcher said that could work in India's favour but Donald has a word of caution. "You can't have a mentally weak guy, or attack, that just waits for one another to make the play. You got to have that courage and guts to be able to do that willingly, and every time the crap hits the fan."

Nagraj Gollapudi is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Nampally on July 8, 2014, 19:35 GMT

    India had some great Leaders in bowling both in pace & spin department. Going long back in 1930's, Amar Singh & Nissar, remain immortal to this day, for their great deeds in the pace attack. In 1950's Dattu Phadkar was a super pace bowling all rounder. In late 50's & early 60's Ramakant "Bumper" Desai with his smooth long run was a great leader of the Pace attack. In 80's & 90's it was Jagdev Srinath & Kapil Dev. Finally it was Zaheer in Late 90's & up to 2012. ZAK hoped Ishant Sharma will take up his mantle of leadership. But so far after 55 Test matches, he is yet to do so. Now the new generation of B.Kumar & Shami are tipped to be the new Leaders of the Indian Test Pace attack in 2014. Will they accept this mantle & bring glory to India in the 5 Test series in England remains to be seen. They surely have the ability & talent to do so especially when the Young Indian team needs them. Ishant can still challenge them for this spot but even with a huge lead he has failed at it so far.

  • sgsekaran on July 10, 2014, 0:43 GMT

    This Indian side is fresh. Their confidence will be higher. Whenever you are going to make debut, then your confidence level will be always higher. So, there is no lack of confidence. The problem is inexperience. Some bowlers are clever, they will adjust to the changing conditions. To them, you don't have to teach them. It is a well balanced side which is hunger of wickets.

  • FormerMiner on July 9, 2014, 14:23 GMT

    Have we not lived life without Zaheer for most of his career? Not that Ishant Sharma is your "killer" strike bowler, but at the same stage of their careers - 55 test matches - Zaheer and Ishant Sharma are not any vastly different. Ishant has 164 wickets at 37 to Zaheer's slightly better but still greatly underwhelming 174 wickets at 34! Zaheer came to great effect in India's 2007 tour of Britain and the 2011 World Cup. Outside of that, his role as a strike bowler has been seldom, far between, when available then either ruined by injuries or largely ineffectual and on Indian pitches completely non-existent. Zaheer Khan gave you the occasional five-for on an overseas tour, but never ran through an innings. His service to the Indian National Team is invaluable, but a star fast bowler, he is not. A headline on ESPN Cricinfo's front page has Zaheer quoted as, "Pace is not everything". No sir! That should not be the marquee running under any star fast bowler's billboard!

  • joseyesu on July 9, 2014, 8:48 GMT

    All the bowlers have played plenty of domestic cricket. If they are not good, then i think they dont have the knack of taking wickets or not good as a team. This is too much emphasis on Zak.

  • mehulmatrix on July 9, 2014, 8:00 GMT

    Couple of points still baffle me. 1) Why does Ishant Sharma get selected even in squad after miserable '7' years? & 2) Why was P.Kumer dropped after doing well in 2011? If his pace was a concern, why was he picked in first place? He did well & should have been given more encouragement & chances. Assuming the selection is consistent, same should also apply for Binny,whose selection is also something i find baffling. Would definitely not play Ishant & go for Varun,Bhubaneshwar & Shami.Mishra/Ojha much better choices than Ashwin/Jadeja, sadly another aspects that baffles me! If bowling plays an important role, i infer we wont do too well. Even if Zaheer is not fit, he could have been on tour in a similar role like Rahul.

  • gundapps on July 9, 2014, 7:23 GMT

    If not any thing more, the warm up games should be taken a guide for selecting the eleven to play the tests. On this basis, Pankaj Singh should come ahead of Ishant with the other two seamers being Shami and Bhuvi so that the pace attack is not totally inexperienced. Binny as fifth bowler is a good option as bowler rotation is easier with five bowlers.

  • on July 9, 2014, 6:20 GMT

    if Ishant and Ravi Jadeja play and India go with another two bowlers, India will loose. Both these guys are liabilities. for India to win we need to go with Ashwin and probably 5 bowlers if Ishant plays based on his past record. Ravi Jadeja is a complete waste of space in test cricket, does nothing with the ball and wants the batsman to gift you a wicket

  • Udendra on July 9, 2014, 5:24 GMT

    What will life without Zaheer be like? No different.

  • Jacobchikku on July 9, 2014, 4:40 GMT

    When things are looking bleak and no one knows what will happen Real hearos emerge and takes their team to victory, a new bowling hero for India will rise this time.

  • YesKayR on July 9, 2014, 1:54 GMT

    There is no mention of Shami in this article... surprising. Ishant did more damage by picking up a lot of wkts in the NZ tour, though he went wktless when it mattered the most in the NZ last innings. Yadav's exclusion ahead of Pankaj singh is another surprise. Bhuvi, Shami and Yadav perhaps is the best attack india can put together. My team wud be.. Gambhir, Vijay, Pujara, Kohli, Rahane, Dhoni, Ashwin, Jadeja/Binny, Bhuvi, Shammi and Aaron. This is consideting that ashwin and jadeja or binny can contribute 30 to 40 runs. Simons says Ishant has ht, pace and variations. Yet to see those variations apart from those which even a local club bowler can do..

  • Nampally on July 8, 2014, 19:35 GMT

    India had some great Leaders in bowling both in pace & spin department. Going long back in 1930's, Amar Singh & Nissar, remain immortal to this day, for their great deeds in the pace attack. In 1950's Dattu Phadkar was a super pace bowling all rounder. In late 50's & early 60's Ramakant "Bumper" Desai with his smooth long run was a great leader of the Pace attack. In 80's & 90's it was Jagdev Srinath & Kapil Dev. Finally it was Zaheer in Late 90's & up to 2012. ZAK hoped Ishant Sharma will take up his mantle of leadership. But so far after 55 Test matches, he is yet to do so. Now the new generation of B.Kumar & Shami are tipped to be the new Leaders of the Indian Test Pace attack in 2014. Will they accept this mantle & bring glory to India in the 5 Test series in England remains to be seen. They surely have the ability & talent to do so especially when the Young Indian team needs them. Ishant can still challenge them for this spot but even with a huge lead he has failed at it so far.

  • sgsekaran on July 10, 2014, 0:43 GMT

    This Indian side is fresh. Their confidence will be higher. Whenever you are going to make debut, then your confidence level will be always higher. So, there is no lack of confidence. The problem is inexperience. Some bowlers are clever, they will adjust to the changing conditions. To them, you don't have to teach them. It is a well balanced side which is hunger of wickets.

  • FormerMiner on July 9, 2014, 14:23 GMT

    Have we not lived life without Zaheer for most of his career? Not that Ishant Sharma is your "killer" strike bowler, but at the same stage of their careers - 55 test matches - Zaheer and Ishant Sharma are not any vastly different. Ishant has 164 wickets at 37 to Zaheer's slightly better but still greatly underwhelming 174 wickets at 34! Zaheer came to great effect in India's 2007 tour of Britain and the 2011 World Cup. Outside of that, his role as a strike bowler has been seldom, far between, when available then either ruined by injuries or largely ineffectual and on Indian pitches completely non-existent. Zaheer Khan gave you the occasional five-for on an overseas tour, but never ran through an innings. His service to the Indian National Team is invaluable, but a star fast bowler, he is not. A headline on ESPN Cricinfo's front page has Zaheer quoted as, "Pace is not everything". No sir! That should not be the marquee running under any star fast bowler's billboard!

  • joseyesu on July 9, 2014, 8:48 GMT

    All the bowlers have played plenty of domestic cricket. If they are not good, then i think they dont have the knack of taking wickets or not good as a team. This is too much emphasis on Zak.

  • mehulmatrix on July 9, 2014, 8:00 GMT

    Couple of points still baffle me. 1) Why does Ishant Sharma get selected even in squad after miserable '7' years? & 2) Why was P.Kumer dropped after doing well in 2011? If his pace was a concern, why was he picked in first place? He did well & should have been given more encouragement & chances. Assuming the selection is consistent, same should also apply for Binny,whose selection is also something i find baffling. Would definitely not play Ishant & go for Varun,Bhubaneshwar & Shami.Mishra/Ojha much better choices than Ashwin/Jadeja, sadly another aspects that baffles me! If bowling plays an important role, i infer we wont do too well. Even if Zaheer is not fit, he could have been on tour in a similar role like Rahul.

  • gundapps on July 9, 2014, 7:23 GMT

    If not any thing more, the warm up games should be taken a guide for selecting the eleven to play the tests. On this basis, Pankaj Singh should come ahead of Ishant with the other two seamers being Shami and Bhuvi so that the pace attack is not totally inexperienced. Binny as fifth bowler is a good option as bowler rotation is easier with five bowlers.

  • on July 9, 2014, 6:20 GMT

    if Ishant and Ravi Jadeja play and India go with another two bowlers, India will loose. Both these guys are liabilities. for India to win we need to go with Ashwin and probably 5 bowlers if Ishant plays based on his past record. Ravi Jadeja is a complete waste of space in test cricket, does nothing with the ball and wants the batsman to gift you a wicket

  • Udendra on July 9, 2014, 5:24 GMT

    What will life without Zaheer be like? No different.

  • Jacobchikku on July 9, 2014, 4:40 GMT

    When things are looking bleak and no one knows what will happen Real hearos emerge and takes their team to victory, a new bowling hero for India will rise this time.

  • YesKayR on July 9, 2014, 1:54 GMT

    There is no mention of Shami in this article... surprising. Ishant did more damage by picking up a lot of wkts in the NZ tour, though he went wktless when it mattered the most in the NZ last innings. Yadav's exclusion ahead of Pankaj singh is another surprise. Bhuvi, Shami and Yadav perhaps is the best attack india can put together. My team wud be.. Gambhir, Vijay, Pujara, Kohli, Rahane, Dhoni, Ashwin, Jadeja/Binny, Bhuvi, Shammi and Aaron. This is consideting that ashwin and jadeja or binny can contribute 30 to 40 runs. Simons says Ishant has ht, pace and variations. Yet to see those variations apart from those which even a local club bowler can do..

  • on July 9, 2014, 1:05 GMT

    team India looks pretty good overall best of luck to them and captain cool msd

  • sammysam on July 8, 2014, 23:42 GMT

    If Ishant plays, india will lose.. simple as that. Ishant will get cook back into form. India needs to back its strength and play a genuine leg spinner.

  • criccritic1 on July 8, 2014, 23:12 GMT

    do you really need Zaheer Khan? I absolutely think, NOT. Indian team selectors and media should talk about the talent still out there and give chances to those young, talented kids vs talking about Zaheer & Dhoni at this time. it applies to Dhoni too, let his rest too! we need different mindset to win overseas. not with Dhoni in the team!!

  • on July 8, 2014, 22:44 GMT

    didnot know india even had bowling :-)

  • on July 8, 2014, 21:49 GMT

    "Bowling leader conundrum"? Don't you mean "Bowler conundrum"? After all, it is not as if the team is busting at the seams with bowling, let alone India. Remember the draw in NZ?

    It is quite remarkable that they are talking up Binny as the "fifth bowler," and equally remarkable that not playing Ashwin is seen as obviously an unsurprising decision.

    What India needs are bowlers. Good bowlers. The last one we had was Kumble who was very good. Zaheer was a good bowler, as was Srinath. Kapil was a very good bowler for the first 60 odd tests, and then pedestrian.

    In lieu of good bowlers, I'd take lively pitches. That way, mediocre bowlers can appear good, and who knows, Binny could rival his father's feats. Then one superlative 75 by Kohli might be enough to pull off an upset.

    Because if the pitch favors batting and England racks up 450+, Indian batting will throw it away.

  • sudhindranath on July 8, 2014, 20:21 GMT

    Sad to see Ishant Sharma getting so much flak! I wish that he can put in a good performance to answer his critics. But I am not very hopeful of it though. Not much confidence in other bowlers either. The dominant T20 culture in India treats bowlers as if they are meant to be thrashed around the ground. And now all of a sudden, they want good pace bowlers in the team! How is that going to be possible, for Heaven's sake?!

  • xylo on July 8, 2014, 19:51 GMT

    That Indian cricket is missing the likes of Dravid and Zaheer talks volumes about their worth. Compare this with a certain "God of cricket".

  • on July 8, 2014, 19:01 GMT

    please dont select ishant sharma..give chance to varon.

  • on July 8, 2014, 18:57 GMT

    All the Best India This squad can do it

  • on July 8, 2014, 17:23 GMT

    Look it doesn't matter whether India bowlers take 20 wickets or not, all that matters is CAPTAIN MSD to lead from the front because he was the one who lead the team in India when they failed consecutively against England and Australia by putting a double hundred against australia. Next will be VK to step up and then comes cheteswara Pujara and then the bowlers. Overall Dhoni should lead from the front followed by Virat Kohli and then Cheteswara Pujara. If these 3 people stand, that is more than enough to build a solid fort to maintain a draw but if you need to win, dhoni's captaincy, VK's catching skills, slip catches, good fielding, jadeja's bullet arm everything should be displayed which in turn collectively boosts Indian bowlers and they will click. As we all no, you can never improve Indian bowling, everything must go perfect to wake up Indian bowling and click. First build the fort (Dhoni, VK, CT) then give the support for indian bowling and finally make our bowlers to attack ENG

  • Prabhash1985 on July 8, 2014, 17:03 GMT

    Wish you all the best India!

  • on July 8, 2014, 16:58 GMT

    The only bowler I am placing some hope on, is Mohammed Shami. For me he has to be the leader of the attack. Ishant Sharma should first focus on not crossing the crease line every 2nd delivery before he even thinks of leading the attack.

  • nashvillet on July 8, 2014, 16:32 GMT

    Its true that indian bowling attack is a bit inexperienced and raw but this could also play to India's advantage. All the bowlers except ishant are new and also the ones who the england batsman haven't faced in this format. Plus the english batsmen except cook and bell, are inexperienced . So this could be another advantage for india. We have to be patient with the players and i think that this young side will perform much better than the last tours debacle.

  • TimeKiller on July 8, 2014, 14:50 GMT

    Since no one really knows who is the best Indian Bowler to bowl in the test matches in England, Indian team management should seriously consider a rotation policy. The worst bowler in every match should go out and next one should come in. 8 bowlers many not be sufficient for this tour. They should bring in 4 more after 2 tests.

  • Naikan on July 8, 2014, 14:29 GMT

    Ishant's continuous inclusion in the team at the expense of other possible candidates is a major sore point; That he is being projected as the spearhead rankles one to no end. As it is, hardly does any Indian pacer figure in a list of bowlers with a bowling average of less than 30. Even Zaheer for that matter does not figure in that list. Ishant with an average of 37 odd can hardly therefore be considered a leader. The one bowler who could have laid claim to that - Praveen Kumar - does have a career average of 25.8 - but is no where in the picture as a result of vagaries of Indian Cricket. I feel Ishant has survived due to several reasons. The first one being - he has mesmerized Dhoni and the Selectors permanently with that one spell against Ponting years ago. The second is the misplaced belief that his height is an advantage. The 3rd and most likely one could be he plays well within himself to remain injury free.

  • Nampally on July 8, 2014, 14:23 GMT

    Bhuvi Kumar & Shami will be Leaders of the Indian pace attack. Both are swing bowlers & can move the ball both the ways. In England the new ball retains its shine right into 40 over+ range. So Bhuvi can be used beyond his opening spell. He needs to maintain a decent line & length attacking the off stump. The crucial thing here is India's slip catching which has no leader after Dravid- who has the record catches in the slips. With the brown pitches, the ball will have less bounce so that slips need to stay closer to take the catches. Don't let the ball drop in front of you by staying deep. The second important point is the controlled use of the pace bowlers when you play 5 X 5 day Tests in 42 days. The total number of overs bowled by each pace bowler need to be controlled & pace bowlers rotated to avoid injuries or "Tired Arm"! Best to share 80 overs betwn. 5 bowlers before the second new ball. Indian batsmen must leave balls outside off stump well alone till they are used to the pitch.

  • Naresh28 on July 8, 2014, 14:22 GMT

    NICE ARTICLE - India's big problem is the leader of the pack of bowlers. Zaks fullfilled that role - why did the selectors not give Praveen Kumar a lookin. He can be deadly as seen in his early IPL bowling. The vacancy for India pace bowling coach is long overdue - BCCI should hire someone? To me they should look at a WI ex-pace bowler.

  • MiddleStump on July 8, 2014, 14:17 GMT

    The other day Agarkar was offering advice to the current set of fast bowlers. That just about sums up the pitiful standard of the bowling. The only decision England will need to make in this series is when to declare and give their bowlers enough time to bowl India out twice.

  • on July 8, 2014, 14:15 GMT

    After Kapil and Sreenath, Zaheer is the best fast bowler India has had. But as a leader and mentor he has done more for indian bowlers than Kapil or Sreenath. If I remember right he had Raju Kulkarni field at the boundary rather than being given a go and also his favorite Sharma-Chetan.

  • on July 8, 2014, 13:54 GMT

    On Paper India has better bowlers, pace, seam, spin, right arm, left arm, yet I feel they will not be able to take 20 wickets in a 5-day game. Dhoni would be smart if he picks Stuart Binny over Ashwin.

  • on July 8, 2014, 13:28 GMT

    Eric Simons says: "...He (Ishant) has the height, pace and variations...". Right. Absolutely right.

    But what is missing is a Radar! To locate the line, the length, & the batsman's offstump... And, to locate his own popping crease, which his landing feet loves to leave behind, provoking the umpire's hand to go parallel to the ground!

  • sudhindranath on July 8, 2014, 13:26 GMT

    Indian bowlers have a couple of obstacles to overcome: 1. The fact that they have no experience playing in England since none of them has ever played county cricket there. 2. The fact that the Indian cricket system (including the batting-obsessed Indian cricket fans) regards bowlers as nothing more than cannon fodder to the batsmen. Just look at IPL with its lifeless pitches and ridiculously short boundaries and field restrictions, where the bowler is offered to the batsman as if he is a sacrificial lamb!

  • pratit on July 8, 2014, 13:22 GMT

    Someone should just tell Ishant to bowl fast( around 140-142kmph) in the channel outside offstump. The same advice has earlier worked wonders for many bowlers when things were not going well for them. With his high workload over the years, he has become an 131-132kmph bowler with a jumbled up thought process. Maybe, it is time to remember what propelled him to the scene in Australia all those years ago- ability to bowl at a rapid pace and extract bounce. Once he reverts to that, things might fall in place. He has the perfect build and run up for a fast bowler. It is a shame that he has performed so miserably over the years. Dhoni should include Binny and use B.Kumar and Binny as the workhorses. Shami and Ishant should be used in short spells. If Dhoni still does not learn and goes in with only 4 bowlers( extremely defensive captain that he is) I won't blame Ishant for bowling at 130kmph, because workload becomes excessive then.

  • on July 8, 2014, 13:14 GMT

    Is it that difficult to persuade Zak , to be the bowling mentor working along with Rahul Dravid? He will make a great guide to the young pace/ swing / seam bowlers.

  • ksriniasu on July 8, 2014, 13:11 GMT

    20 wickets over 5 tests is possible, as that would be 4 wickets a test. 20 wickets in every test is out of the question, especially with Ishant Sharma bowling "thunderbolts" at 130 Km per hour.

  • IndTheBest on July 8, 2014, 13:07 GMT

    Team without Zaheer or without Sachin will still survive. However, Indian think tank has to understand that they can't win TEST match without having a five bowlers. When you see your bowlers doing good with top orders and not able to get out tailenters continuouslythat's the sign that bowlers get tiered as games goes on. It's not really an issue with their capabilities. Go with 5 bowlers if you intend to win otherwise I see another same fate in England. Good luck!

  • CricketChat on July 8, 2014, 12:54 GMT

    Ind team has been playing without Zaheer for the better part of the last 2 yrs. It's a great opportunity for some of the Ind quicks to cement their places and assume the leadership role. It will take a couple of yrs before Ind team has a settled look. It's transition time in full swing.

  • 1st_WC_without_Sachin on July 8, 2014, 12:34 GMT

    under mentor of Rahul Dravid, we have seen many brillient spells from Rajastan Royals bowlers in every IPL. I think, Dravid is the man will bring up penetration in Indian bowler on seaming pitches and conditions. I will go for BINNY in place of ROHIT. My XI for 1st test. 1.S.Dhawan 2.G.Gambhir 3.C.Pujara 4.V.Kohli 5.A.Rahane 6.S.Binny 7.MSD 8.R.Jadeja 9.B.Kumar 10.M.Shami 11.I.Sharma.

  • IndianInnerEdge on July 8, 2014, 12:06 GMT

    The biggest thing coming out of all the media hoopla over this series-leave aside whatever the results will be-from an indian perspective is the focus on bowling....which is so welcome....For long because of the batting galacticos we had , India was and still is a perenenially batting stats obsessed nation with just a passing mention to bowling. Still a long way to go before we have a bowling-read Quick bowling, of the type that gets batsmen out by uprooting the timber and not caught at the long on boudary trying to slog a 125kmph+ half tracker that indian pace men-read medium pacers are serving up in the last so many years. "He needs to think like a Glenn McGrath and Shaun Pollock," says Simons. "He needs to think about patience, about not trying too much"-at last someone is saying the right things about ishant.....What we need a good specialist PACE bowling coach-Read Lillee, McDermott, Donald, akram and the like...Too long we have been happy with the 125kmph+ quickie wannabe's!

  • Cric_Guy_Surya on July 8, 2014, 12:05 GMT

    Bowling is really a concern but I feel Ishant should be dropped for the first Test and the 3 pacers should be -Kumar, Shami and Aaron. How I wish Umesh was here!

  • on July 8, 2014, 11:49 GMT

    indian bowlers need to stick to basics and exploit weakness of what recently sl did to england.

  • Samychennai on July 8, 2014, 11:35 GMT

    It was surprise by Indian cricket board to the fans while Ishant being selected for this tour. It was similar to Ashish Nehra's purchase by CSK. None of the Indian cricketing fan expected Ishant to be included in the squad. The reason everybody knew it. He has nothing pace since Ricky Ponting is retired. He has nothing line and length. He hasn't achieved anything in domestic league for couple of years either international cricket. In fact he is been expensive bowler for past few years and taken few wickets. Poor fielding and lazy backup technic while bowling.

    Only Dhoni knew the reason why Ishant is in the team. Who know that may this tour turned to be Ishant's one?

  • sardarmayana on July 8, 2014, 11:32 GMT

    Life without Zaheer Khan for Indian Test cricket and One day will be better. The new players will step up and do hope do not have a attitude like the Zaheer Khan does.

  • Ramesh_Joseph on July 8, 2014, 11:12 GMT

    Forget about bowling Captain, Ishanth doesn't even deserve to be in the team. Varun Aaron, Pankaj Singh etc are much better options than him.

  • Ramesh_Joseph on July 8, 2014, 11:12 GMT

    Forget about bowling Captain, Ishanth doesn't even deserve to be in the team. Varun Aaron, Pankaj Singh etc are much better options than him.

  • sardarmayana on July 8, 2014, 11:32 GMT

    Life without Zaheer Khan for Indian Test cricket and One day will be better. The new players will step up and do hope do not have a attitude like the Zaheer Khan does.

  • Samychennai on July 8, 2014, 11:35 GMT

    It was surprise by Indian cricket board to the fans while Ishant being selected for this tour. It was similar to Ashish Nehra's purchase by CSK. None of the Indian cricketing fan expected Ishant to be included in the squad. The reason everybody knew it. He has nothing pace since Ricky Ponting is retired. He has nothing line and length. He hasn't achieved anything in domestic league for couple of years either international cricket. In fact he is been expensive bowler for past few years and taken few wickets. Poor fielding and lazy backup technic while bowling.

    Only Dhoni knew the reason why Ishant is in the team. Who know that may this tour turned to be Ishant's one?

  • on July 8, 2014, 11:49 GMT

    indian bowlers need to stick to basics and exploit weakness of what recently sl did to england.

  • Cric_Guy_Surya on July 8, 2014, 12:05 GMT

    Bowling is really a concern but I feel Ishant should be dropped for the first Test and the 3 pacers should be -Kumar, Shami and Aaron. How I wish Umesh was here!

  • IndianInnerEdge on July 8, 2014, 12:06 GMT

    The biggest thing coming out of all the media hoopla over this series-leave aside whatever the results will be-from an indian perspective is the focus on bowling....which is so welcome....For long because of the batting galacticos we had , India was and still is a perenenially batting stats obsessed nation with just a passing mention to bowling. Still a long way to go before we have a bowling-read Quick bowling, of the type that gets batsmen out by uprooting the timber and not caught at the long on boudary trying to slog a 125kmph+ half tracker that indian pace men-read medium pacers are serving up in the last so many years. "He needs to think like a Glenn McGrath and Shaun Pollock," says Simons. "He needs to think about patience, about not trying too much"-at last someone is saying the right things about ishant.....What we need a good specialist PACE bowling coach-Read Lillee, McDermott, Donald, akram and the like...Too long we have been happy with the 125kmph+ quickie wannabe's!

  • 1st_WC_without_Sachin on July 8, 2014, 12:34 GMT

    under mentor of Rahul Dravid, we have seen many brillient spells from Rajastan Royals bowlers in every IPL. I think, Dravid is the man will bring up penetration in Indian bowler on seaming pitches and conditions. I will go for BINNY in place of ROHIT. My XI for 1st test. 1.S.Dhawan 2.G.Gambhir 3.C.Pujara 4.V.Kohli 5.A.Rahane 6.S.Binny 7.MSD 8.R.Jadeja 9.B.Kumar 10.M.Shami 11.I.Sharma.

  • CricketChat on July 8, 2014, 12:54 GMT

    Ind team has been playing without Zaheer for the better part of the last 2 yrs. It's a great opportunity for some of the Ind quicks to cement their places and assume the leadership role. It will take a couple of yrs before Ind team has a settled look. It's transition time in full swing.

  • IndTheBest on July 8, 2014, 13:07 GMT

    Team without Zaheer or without Sachin will still survive. However, Indian think tank has to understand that they can't win TEST match without having a five bowlers. When you see your bowlers doing good with top orders and not able to get out tailenters continuouslythat's the sign that bowlers get tiered as games goes on. It's not really an issue with their capabilities. Go with 5 bowlers if you intend to win otherwise I see another same fate in England. Good luck!

  • ksriniasu on July 8, 2014, 13:11 GMT

    20 wickets over 5 tests is possible, as that would be 4 wickets a test. 20 wickets in every test is out of the question, especially with Ishant Sharma bowling "thunderbolts" at 130 Km per hour.