Despite the injury concerns in the ongoing England tour, former India pacer Ashish Nehra believes that India still have quality fast bowlers at their disposal. Apart from being pleased with India’s pace attack, Nehra is happy to see Ishant Sharma as a leader of the pack.
Ishant was one of the very few shining stars in India’s heart-breaking 31-run defeat in the first Test against England at Edgbaston. The lanky pacer claimed six wickets in the opening Test, including a five-wicket haul in the second innings.
“We have a huge number of options, but the more important thing is quality. We have 6-7 fast bowlers and one or two come in behind also and they have quality,” Nehra quoted as saying by PTI.
“In the first Test match we managed to pick 20 wickets and, more importantly, somebody like Ishant Sharma – leading from the front after playing so many Test matches – that was good to see,” he added.
Nehra also feels that Navdeep Saini and Mohammed Siraj are the upcoming stars in the fast bowling department.
“Mohammed Shami was struggling with injuries, not easy to come back, and bowled his heart out (in the first Test). We have Umesh Yadav, who has heaps of talent. You have Jasprit Bumrah, who has done so well, Bhuvaneshwar Kumar, who has been injured, but in One Dayers he is your number one guy. Another two guys I see coming up are Navdeep Saini and Mohammed Siraj. They both have been part of India A squad (and) I have (also) seen them closely in RCB (Royal Challengers Bangalore). All of them have heaps of talent,” Nehra asserted.
“We have an experienced bowling attack on this tour. All in all we have a very good fast bowling unit. I personally feel when he (Hardik) is playing as a fifth bowler (in Tests), or in even T20s or One Dayers, then we need some cushion behind him. Because he is not somebody who is bowling 10 overs consistently. At times we have six batters but nobody bowls,” he explained.
Nehra, who represented India in 17 Tests and 120 ODIs, believes that although all-rounder Hardik Pandya has improved as a bowler, he is still an unfinished product.
“I personally feel when he (Hardik) is playing as a fifth bowler (in Tests), or in even T20s or One Dayers, then we need some cushion behind him. Because he is not somebody who is bowling 10 overs consistently. At times we have six batters but nobody bowls,” Nehra remarked.
“He (Hardik)has done well, shown some improvement in his graph, but he has not reached that way (position) that he is your fifth bowler in 50 over (game),” Nehra pointed out. “But in Leeds, captain (Virat Kohli) gave him the new ball ahead of Shardul Thakur, so captain is showing faith in him. As a bowler he is improving, but still there is a long way to go and you cannot say he is your certain fifth bowler,” he concluded.