Are India looking at resting at least one of their fast bowlers who featured in the defeat at Headingley for the Oval Test starting on Thursday? The question came up after they added young fast bowler Prasidh Krishna to their squad. Prasidh, 25, who made his international debut in the home ODI series against England in March, is the seventh pacer in the squad.
In a media release on Wednesday, the BCCI said Prasidh had been added to the squad for the penultimate Test of the five-match series at the request of the team management. It is understood that Prasidh, who was originally part of the reserves, was sought as cover to the main group of fast bowlers comprising Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami, Ishant Sharma and Mohammed Siraj. The other two pace options in the squad include Umesh Yadav and Shardul Thakur.
At 6' 2", Prasidh, who plays for Karnataka in domestic cricket, could potentially be seen as a back-up for Ishant, who struggled for rhythm and consistency while finishing wicketless in the third Test. Ishant, who turns 33 on Thursday, had sat out the first Test due a niggle.
"He's been included in the team mainly considering all the workload management issues," B Arun, India's bowling coach, said on the eve of the Oval Test. "Nothing more to it than that. Ishant's form in the last game that was a bit of concern but I think we have sorted things out. Prasidh Krishna is just a precautionary inclusion."
At the post-match media briefing at Headingley, India captain Virat Kohli said he had noticed "no issues whatsoever" with Ishant, but added that rotation of the fast bowlers could not be ruled out keeping in mind the heavy workloads in a five-match Test series.
"That's bound to happen," Kohli said when asked whether some of the fast bowlers could be rested. "It's a very logical and sensible thing to do - you obviously don't want to push individuals to a place where they break. We will have that conversation with individuals and see who is placed where physically and who needs to have a game off. You obviously can't expect with a short turnaround like this for guys to play four Test matches in a row so we'll have to assess who are the guys that will be given that many number of days to recover and then be okay for the fifth one [Manchester]."
Bumrah, who has been India's best bowler with 14 wickets, has also logged the most number of overs for them: 108, followed closely by Siraj, who has delivered nearly 101 overs. In terms of biggest workloads in the series so far, they slot in behind the England duo of James Anderson and Ollie Robinson, who've sent down nearly 117 overs each. Shami has bowled nearly 97 overs in three Tests while Ishant has bowled 56 overs in the two Tests he has played in.
All the Indian fast bowlers, including Prasidh, did not bowl at training on Tuesday, with the team management opting to rest the pace-bowling group two days ahead of the fourth Test.
Nagraj Gollapudi is news editor at ESPNcricinfo