After covering the recently concluded three-match Test series between India and South Africa, West Indian pace legend Michael Holding has come to a conclusion that India speedster Jasprit Bumrah is not a new ball bowler and he won’t prefer him during India's tour of England later this year.
"I am not sure he is going to be a good new ball bowler. He struggles to take the ball away from right-handers when bowling with the new ball. So he wouldn't be my first choice (on overseas tours). My first choice is always Bhuvneshwar Kumar," Holding was quoted by PTI as saying.
"Then I would think about Ishant Sharma and Mohammed Shami. When India play in England, pitches will be drastically different to South Africa. I wouldn't play Bumrah because he bangs the ball in. Those pitches need someone to bowl so that the ball who kisses the surface and gets it to move around," he further added.
Featuring in his first Test series, Bumrah claimed his maiden five-wicket haul in the third Test at Wanderers and led a foundation for India’s historic 63-run victory. Observing Bumrah from the close quarters, Holding said the 24-year-old pacer bowls a lot of variety with the old ball.
"He hits the deck hard and that's why he got those two wickets in Centurion (second innings) and the fiver here at Wanderers. When he hits the deck hard, and the ball is keeping up and down, at his pace the batsmen do not have time to react," Holding opined.
"He did this very effectively, on pitches that offer this sort of assistance to him, and on such pitches he will do a pretty good job. As the ball gets older, he bowls with a lot of variety," he elaborated.
Indian bowlers managed to scalp all the 60 Proteas wickets during the Test series and the Caribbean pace great was in full of praise for the bowling unit.
"The Indian bowlers have done an excellent job. I will never fault them on this tour. It's the batting that has failed India. Bowlers have done a very good job but then again pitches have been bowler friendly. You would want to be a bowler on these pitches especially in the first and third Tests," said Holding.
Fondly known as “whispering death” for his hostile pace bowling, Holding though was a tad disappointed with off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin.
"I was disappointed with R Ashwin's bowling at Centurion. In the second innings, he bowled as if he was bowling in a limited overs game. His line was wrong. For an off-spinner who spins the ball, it was too straight. It was too negative," Holding opined.
"He needed to pitch on off-stump and turn the ball into the batsmen. But he kept bowling middle/leg and bowled a straight, negative line. That (lone spinner) is the aspect of Indian bowling I am disappointed with (on this tour)," he added.
Even though India conceded the Test series 2-1 to the Proteas, Virat Kohli and company will stay at the pinnacle of ICC Test rankings. No wonder, Holding doesn’t take the rankings seriously.
"Numbers don't tell the full story. I don't pay attention to ICC rankings of teams or players. When India became no.1, I didn't think they were the best team. It was a similar situation when they went to England as the no.1 team a few years ago (2011) and lost every Test match," Holding remarked.
"England became No.1 team and lost to South Africa quite comfortably. So I just don't pay any attention to the rankings," he concluded.