Former selector Sarandeep Singh believes that not taking Bhuvneshwar Kumar ‘your best swing bowler’ on the England tour is a huge mistake. He also feels that Shardul Thakur should have been part of the 15-man squad for the World Test Championship final that India lost against New Zealand.
The conditions at Southampton were always more pacer-friendly. Meanwhile, Day 1 was washed out due to rain and India had the opportunity to change the playing XI and add more Pacers to the team. But India lacked a pacer who can bat that’s why they went with the same squad. However, if Shardul Thakur would have been in the 15-man squad he could have been drafted into the playing XI.
And Sarandeep was baffled with the decision of not including Bhuvneshwar Kumar for the World Test Championship final and the subsequent five Tests against England starting August 4.
Here is what former selector , Sarandeep said about Bhuvneshwar and Shardul
‘The playing eleven picked two days ago before the game was perfect with two spinners in it. But it should have been changed as the conditions got more conducive to fast bowling (after rain),’Sarandeep told PTI.
‘You picked the two spinners (Ravinchandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja) because they can bat. The only fast bowler who could bat was Shardul and he was not in the 15. He should have been there in the 15-man squad irrespective of whether he made the eleven or not eventually.’ Talking about a fit again Bhuvneshwar Kumar who has been named vice captain for the limited overs tour of Sri Lanka next month, Sarandeep said the crafty pacer was an automatic pick in the UK squad.
‘Not taking Bhuvneshwar Kumar to England is a huge mistake. He is the best swing bowler you have and he is not even part of the squad.’ He also feels time has come to groom someone like Shardul for the fast bowling all-rounder’s slot with Hardik Pandya not fit enough to bowl in the longest format. – Sarandeep
‘You can’t be relying only on Hardik anymore. You don’t know when he will be fit enough to bowl in all formats so someone like Shardul needs to be groomed or even Vijay Shankar or Shivam Dube are there.’ He expects Mohammed Siraj to play regularly over the five Tests against England.
‘There will be rotation in that series. It is the right time to blood in Siraj and give him as many games as you can. He is bowling well. If there is a long gap, he would find it tough to find the right length straightaway.
‘A little flexibility is needed. You play your two spinners but if the conditions suit the pacers then play the extra seamer,’ said Sarandeep.
Sarandeep agrees with Virat Kohli’s opinions
The former India cricketer also agreed with captain Virat Kohli’s statement . As Kohli said that more intent was needed while batting in overcast conditions.
‘Our bowling has been fine for a while now but the problem is the batsmen. (Shubman) Gill could not perform in the home series against England. He played well in the opening session with Rohit (in WTC) but could not convert. Gill has to take responsibility now and absorb the pressure.’
‘What is clear now is that you can’t play defensive too much if the ball is doing a lot. Whether it is (Cheteshwar) Pujara or (Ajinkya) Rahane or anyone else. You have to bat out of your comfort zone after a certain point to counter the conditions.’
‘It is too early to call for an overhaul but change of approach is very much needed from the batsmen. Even in Australia the lower order made those crucial runs. We need players to take the pressure off Kohli and Rohit.’ Sarandeep also highlighted the fact that India have not been able to win an ICC event under Kohli despite playing well consistently.
‘They deserve to win, they are playing well for over four years but why it is not happening means there is something wrong,’ he added.